Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among medical practitioners in an urban town in Nigeria
Background: Mental health problems can affect anybody including Doctors. It can be related to nature of our work and personal factors. Mental ill health includes a range of conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among Medical practitioners in Onitsha town.
Methodology: Questionnaires were distributed to 56 Medical practitioners who were present at Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Onitsha zone organized Continuous Professional Development Programmes (CPD) lecture held at NMA secretariat building general hospital Onitsha on the 8th of March 2015. Self-administered semi-structured questionnaire designed by the authors, General Health Questionnaire version 12 (GHQ-12) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale version 21 (DASS-21) were distributed to 56 participants via convenience method.
Results: Nearly all the Doctors that participated were males (98.1%), with age range of 26 - 71 years. Most of the respondents (n=43, 82.7%) were married. More than half (55.8%) were in private practice with nearly a third (30.8%) combining it with public service. Nearly half (42.3%) had worked for 31 – 40years and almost half (48.1%) work for an average of 60 – 89 hours per week. Twenty one (40.4%) had work related problems but none ever sort psychiatric consultation. Less than one fifth (13.4%) screened positive on the DASS depression and stress scales while 32.6% screened positive on anxiety scale. No participant had the GHQ 12 threshold score of 3 and above.
Conclusion: Screening tools picked some cases of anxiety, depression and stress but no one ever presented to mental health service. The psychological wellbeing of doctors may need to be considered separately from mental health issues of the general population. Favourable conditions for truthful disclosure should be created so that those mentally unwell can seek appropriate care.
Keywords: Medical doctor, Stress, Anxiety, Depression