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Main causes of mental illness in Nigeria

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Main causes of mental illness in Nigeria

Many of the reported cases of mental illness in Nigeria are caused by a combination of factors. These factors include; economic, psychological, marital and health. Mental illnesses are connected with abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits. Nerve cells within these brain circuits communicate through neurons.

The underlisted are some of the cause of identified causes of mental illness in Nigeria.

Psychological factors

Mental illness cause by psychological factors begin to show from childhood. The parenting style of the family unit are important factors that determining the memory health of the growing child.

Children are born with empty cognitive slates. That is why they always asking questions and are very curious. However, the family, the first socializing agent of children, paints pictures and imprints codes of conduct that children grow with.

What the family and its environment present to children on arrival on earth goes a long way in shaping who they become.

A child with poor parental upbringing, who was shown little or no love will grow up with little or no self-esteem. This eventually leads them into poor associations, which in turn causes a psychological breakdown.




Biological Factors

Some mental illnesses are associated with abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits that connect particular brain regions. Nerve cells within these brain circuits communicate through neurotransmitters.

Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have been associated with the cause of some mental conditions.

Other biological factors that may be responsible for the development of mental illness include:


Mental illnesses sometimes run in families’ line.

People who have a family member (for instance, any of their parents) with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to come down with one.

Mental illnesses run in the gene of many families. These genes make every unborn susceptible to mental illness. Experts believe many mental illnesses are associated with abnormalities in many genes rather than just one or a few, how these genes interact with the environment is unique for every person (even identical twins). That is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental illness but doesn’t develop the illness.

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Mental illness occurs from the interaction of multiple genes and other factors – like stress, abuse, or a traumatic event — which can influence, or trigger, an illness in a person who has an inherited susceptibility to it.





Certain infections have been discovered to cause brain damage and the development of mental illness or the worsening of the symptoms. For instance, a condition known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDA) associated with the Streptococcus bacteria has been linked to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental illnesses in children.

Brain defects or injury

Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have also been discovered to cause some mental illnesses.

Substance abuse 

In particular, Long-term substance abuse, has been associated with depression, anxiety, and paranoia. In Nigeria, it has been discovered that youths, in order to be “high” engage in the over-dosage consumption of a certain cough syrups. This practice has led a lot of youths in Nigeria to their early graves and many more in chains.

Other factors

Exposure to toxins, such as lead and poor nutrition may play a role in the development of mental illnesses. This is also a serious threat in Nigeria. Given the poor wages receive by a good number of service men and machine operators in factories, they are unable to afford healthy food that will free their bodies of radical that entered their body as a result of their nature of work and work environment.


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