Psychologist alarmed over rise of stress related diseases in Ghana
Dr Samuel Atindanbila, Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, Legon, has expressed concern about the increasing rate of reported cases of stress related diseases in the country’s hospitals, and called for immediate measures to address the situation.
Dr. Atindanbila who is also a clinical psychologist, told Ghana News Agency on Tuesday that ‘biopsychosocial’ diseases were emerging in many countries including Ghana.
He explained that biopsychosocial diseases were those stress related disorders that often led to anxiety, sleeplessness, sexual problems and depression.
Dr Atindanbila attributed the emerging trend to the many challenges and setbacks currently facing countries including the recent increase in food prices, utility bills, fees, fuel prices, global economic meltdown, and unemployment, among others.
He said symptoms of biopsychosocial diseases were closely related to other illnesses, and that when not properly diagnosed wrong prescriptions could be given to biopsychosocial patients.
“The disease manifests itself in physical symptoms such as sleeplessness, abdominal pains, fatigue, sexual weaknesses and mood swings,” he said adding “if a patient receives medical attention from a physician and the symptoms persists, a clinical psychologist should be consulted immediately”.
Dr Atindanbila called for more clinical psychologists to be deployed in the country’s health care delivery system to offer professional services to patients.
As a short-term measure, he called for a more formal salary structure and other financial incentives to motivate more clinical psychologists to remain in the country’s health care facilities to render services.
Dr Atindanbila expressed worry that mental health nurses were few in the country and blamed poor salary structure in the health sector as the main cause of massive exodus of medical professionals to join the ‘brain drain”.
“Though authorities of University of Ghana, train 15 clinical psychologists every year, the Ministry of Health has not employed most of them. The few whose services are being engaged, are not even paid,” he said.