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Reasons For Escalating Rate Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

StressThe beginning point is to question the veracity of the propensity of PTSD. As ironic as it is, the fact is that PTSD may likely be one of the most prevalent types of psychological/psychiatric problems in our globe today.

In the first place, it is directly connected to stress disorders, which by all standards are acclaimed to be prevalent. Particularly in Africa, the forces of ignorance and lack of statistics lead to under reporting or total negligence of available data on the issues of PTSD.

Consequently, ignorance is a major reason why the rate of PTSD is escalating in our globe today. Ignorance of the symptoms, devastations and dangers, ignorance of the onset and exacerbation; ignorance of negligence of obtaining professional therapy and doing so timely. For instance, many husbands cannot appreciate the depth of emotional and mental torture a pregnant wife undergoes after abortion or miscarriage. Particularly if the loss of foetus isn’t a result of deliberate action. The woman experiences a similar degree of mourning and grief equal to the type that is manifested during the demise of a grown up person. Though the degree of PTSD may vary from one woman to the other, generally, the impact is very significant on the psychological health of the victim.

Cultural expectations and norms contribute to the escalation of post-traumatic stress disorders in our world today. For example, in most African societies, victims of rape are stigmatised, and by this expression of such a negative cultural norm, such people are further exposed to PTSD. Instead of assisting them, our society criminalises and criticises them. They are erroneously judged as being wayward and deserving the evil fate which had befallen them. Such adding of insult to an already putrefying sore only worsens the traumatic situation they find themselves.

The situation in our globe today seems to portray a situation where virtue is increasing in numerical strength while vice in increasing in geometric dimension. It is a prevailing culture of violence, vengeance and vendetta. Humanity is losing in an alarming rate, her appreciation of all that is noble, virtuous and gracious. A contemporary case at hand is the attitude of many politicians and those in governance. Those who lost elections at any level are comparable to pregnant women who lost precious foetus at the various stages of cyesis. This awareness or knowledge may be remote to multitudes. No wonder many opponents engage in callous and crucifying attitudes against their competitors. When one considers the huge investments in terms of time and talent, material and mental, social and spiritual resources channeled towards achieving success at the polls, one can then begin to at least to sympathise with the losers. An African proverb has it that a cannibal should first pinch oneself before decapitating the next victim. This is the wisdom of the golden rule.

In spite of mankind’s claim for development and advancement, there seems to be a discordant relationship between technological development and the advancement of humanness in our globe today. This is why our successes and happiness are transient while sorrow and suffering cling to us inseparably like our shadows. Dangerously too, the misunderstanding and misapplication of religion in our globe today has led to the escalation of all forms of post traumatic stress disorders. From genital mutilation of females to regarding them as evil and sex objects to social exclusion, persecution and destruction of lives of infidels, religious bigotry is one of the major causes of PTSD in the globe today. For one person who is undergoing religious persecution or victimization, there are at least three others connected to them who bear a similar degree of the consequences.

The dearth of professional personnel and adequate equipment to handle PTSD is yet another reason why this group of psychological disorders is increasing in leaps and bounds. For instance in Nigeria, the health centres that can provide professional attention for PTSD are psychiatric and university teaching hospitals, a few general hospitals, some university clinics or health centres and a few private clinics. Recently, a colleague was complaining of being overburdened with work in his office. He happens to be the only psychologist available to attend to the various forms and degrees of mental and emotional problems in his company. Yet, the company isn’t ready to employ more professionals.

Dr. Amaraegbu, a clinical psychologist lives in Lagos.drpassy@yahoo.com



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