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09.05.2019 Feature Article

The Increasing Rate Of Mental Dysfunctional In Ghana Due To Substance Abuse And Its Possible Solution To Combat

There have been numerous reported cases on mental illness as youth of today unmeasurably abuse drugs such as tramadol, opium, marijuana and others, in other to make them high (hyper) for the day’s activities (Omer, et al.,2018). Dr. John Paul Omuojine a psychiatrist at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital during a 10-days programme organized by the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) in Kumasi, alarm on the high number of reported cases on mental illness at the Psychiatric Unit. Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. Some people develop mental health problems related to their compulsive drug use, and some people take drugs in an attempt to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders whereas others take to enhance their ability to work (Fernández-Artamendi, et al., 2013). Whatever symptoms appear first, it is important to treat all mental illnesses at the same time. This article therefore seeks to educate the public on the high increase in cases of mental illness and how to combat it as a country.

Drug abuse and addiction, now both grouped as substance or drug use disorder, is a condition characterized by a self-destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems and distress, which may include tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance (Omer, et al.,2016). Drug use disorder is unfortunately quite common, affecting more than 8% of people in Ghana at some point in their lives. Symptoms of a drug problem include recurrent drug use that results in legal problems, occurs in potentially dangerous situations. Interfere with important obligations, results in social or relationship problems, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, using a lot of the drug or for a long period. Persistent desire to use the drug, unsuccessful efforts to stop using the drug, neglecting other aspects of life because of their drug use, and spending inordinate amounts of time or energy getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug.

According to Phan, et al., (2005), It is estimate that for over 25.6 million people living in Ghana, 650,000 are suffering from a severe mental disorder and a further 2,166, 000 are suffering from a moderate to mild mental disorder. The treatment gap is 98% of the total population expected to have a mental disorder. Mental health services in Ghana are available at most levels of care. However, the majority of care is provided through specialized psychiatric hospitals (close to the capital and servicing only small proportion of the population, with relatively less government provision and funding for general hospital and primary health care based services. The few community base services being provided are private.

Causes of Drug Abuse:
Curiosity is additionally one of the components that represents the abuse of drugs. Most youngsters are extremely inquisitive to discover what is contained in specific sorts of drugs particularly tramadol and other alcoholic substances. They see others joyfully enjoying drugs. As a rule, they discover people of high social standing smoking and drinking abundantly. They overpoweringly net on edge to discover what influences other individuals to enjoy these drugs.

The instreaming of drug vagrants and quack specialists in our boulevards and at the doorsteps has organized to a high frequency of drug misuse. It is qualified to take note of that, not just in our homes and lanes that one gets a look at quacks carrying out their specialty, yet in addition in transports and in "Trotsky’s" (Llorca, et al., 2004). Their capacity to engage a group of people, their sheer expressiveness and the declarations given by different individuals about the adequacy of their drugs are sufficient to influence a wiped out individual or the youngster to purchase what they sell. Additionally, qualified to note is the way that their drugs are economical thus individuals cannot resist the opportunity to utilize them without qualified restorative specialist's recommendation.

Another factor in charge of the developing occurrence of drugs misuse particularly tramadol misuse is peer weight or companion bunch impact. In schools particularly, companions who are into the drug ‘organizations’ will in general bait understudies. A young man dependent on to drugs may persuade an associate to drink liquor, sniff cocaine, smoke cannabis or abuse tobacco substances for the sake of design. A few adolescents who are resolved not to pollute their bodies with drugs are distanced, chided, and given provocative names like "kolo, john, hostile to so", and so on. To get away from these heckles and joke, some effectively surrender into the guidance of manhandling drugs at the last possible second.

Strangely, notice has for as far back as decades have been one of the useful assets used to bait men to abuse tranquilizes in this nation. On the wings of ad, youngsters escape by musings of imagination. They start to feel that they would in a matter of moments, shaft with grins, certainty and seem solid like the grinning sure looking people in the advert who have been sufficiently provident to do the correct things at the opportune time. Exquisitely dressed and as men of high social standing as well, they have quite often, constrained their group of onlookers to acknowledge them as good examples through the core of expert articulation and high sounding catchphrases and mottos like "Maryjane, the radiant weed that opens the twin entryways of insight and success!" "Adonko sharp flavoring, sharp flavoring existing apart from everything else!" and so forth. Tricky as their practices and discourses seem to be, a few a great many youthful capable individuals were affected into copying their ways of life and propensities.

Effect of drug abuse and Mental illness:
Physiological Effects
Physiological effects of drug abuse vary by the type of drug. Stimulants, such as amphetamines, can delay sleep and elevate a person’s mood, but high amounts can cause nervousness and anxiety in the user. Depressants, by contrast, impair mental and physical functions, and slow neural activity in the brain. With some drugs, especially narcotics such as opium or heroin, the body can build a tolerance in which it adjusts to the drug’s presence. Over time, the body requires higher doses to maintain the same effect. When an abuser stops taking the drug, the body experiences withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling weak or sick. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s reaction to the absence of the drug to which it had become adjust.

Economic effect:
Reports by UNDCP have pointed out that the economic effects of drug abuse can be measured in two forms. One is the cost of Government Drug Enforcement Policies. Nations around the world spend billions yearly on law enforcement and other efforts aimed at drug interdiction. Because a central principle in economics is that resources are scarce and require decisions about how to allocate them, it follows that money spent on drug enforcement is money not spent on education, public infrastructure, or given to the public in the form of lower taxes. Another economic effect from drug abuse is the lost human productivity, such as lost wages and decreased production that results from illnesses and premature deaths related to drug abuse

Effect on Lifestyle:
Drug abusers pick tranquillizes over all else, that incorporates family and companions. One of the symptoms of drug misuse is the loss of fellowship and family because of these decisions (Gueye et al., 1983). Families and companions need to look as the drug abuser pulls away and the impacts of drug misuse attack their body and brain. Besides, one of the symptoms of drug use might be unusual, abnormal, conduct that further isolates the drug abuser from their friends and family. The impacts of drug misuse can likewise incorporate diminishing execution in work or school. This diminished execution may prompt disciplinary activity, ejection or expulsion, making cash issues and conceivably even lawful inconveniences. Ending support in games and surrendering diversions are different impacts of drug misuse.

Legal Consequences:
Drug and alcohol abuse not only has negative effects on your health but can also have legal consequences that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. Many employers require that you take a drug test before offering you a job; many of them even conduct random drug tests even after you become an employee. Refusing to give up drugs could end up making you unemployed, which comes with even more issues. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to a suspended driver’s license, usually for 6 months to 2 years. You will also need to pay heavy fines and may even spend some time in jail.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse:
When a person’s behavior changes, loved ones may immediately suspect that substance abuse of some kind is a factor. There are a number of signs that may be observe in a person who is abusing or addicting to drugs or alcohol, it can be challenging to see outward signs of substance abuse; however, there are some behaviors that can indicate that drug abuse or addiction is occurring. According to Arsenault et al., (2002), generally, if a person is abusing drugs or alcohol, the following signs may be observe :

  • Decreased involvement in activities the person used to enjoy
  • Trouble managing responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Problems with relationships related to substance use
  • Increase in risk-taking behaviors
  • A lot of time spent seeking the substance, or dealing with its aftereffects (e.g., being hungover)
  • Inability to stop using the substance or change behavior, even when the problems above are present
  • In some cases, physical or psychological signs may be observed as well:
  • Slurring speech, clumsiness, and lack of balance
  • Inability to focus
  • Decreased or increased heart rate
  • Trembling or sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal symptoms if the person stops taking the substance
  • Increased irritability, agitation, and paranoia
  • Frequent bloody noses
  • Injection marks on skin
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Decreased hygiene
  • Slowed breathing
  • Very fatigued or difficult to wake up
  • Seizures
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Signs of hallucinations (talking to no one, looking at nothing, scratching at skin)
  • Dramatic change in pupil size

Measures to Combat Drug Abuse and Mental illness:

To battle the drug hazard, the accompanying measures ought to be set up. There is the requirement for an across the nation instructive battle, went for presenting each native to the perils innate in utilizing un-recommended drugs. As much as training is basic, it is similarly significant for the administration to leave on a wellbeing upheaval. In this regard, medical clinics and well-prepared centers ought to be build up in all towns and towns in the nation to give individuals access to qualified wellbeing experts. As an issue of desperation, emergency clinic charges must be checked on to make them reasonable to the basic man. The National Health care coverage Plan must be managed enough to cover most clinic charges particularly most drugs and lab tests which most patients discover very marvelous to bear. The legislature and the security organizations ought not to defer in pursuing a tenacious war against clients and dealers of hard drugs like cocaine, tramadol and cannabis. At whatever point they have gotten, moment corrective measures ought to be distributed to them. Likewise, the administration is encouraged to put a prohibition on the clearance of the most generally mishandled drugs in the nation.

In conclusion, quack specialists and drug merchants ought to be giving legitimate preparation to empower them direct all their activities more productively and successfully. If not, they ought to be restricted from completing their tasks.

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Llorca, P.-M., Chereau, I., Brousse, G., & Schawn, R. (2004). Troubles psychiatriques d’origine

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Benard Karikari
Benard Karikari, © 2019

This author has authored 1 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: BenardKarikari

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