Dr Olabode Shabi, Chairman of the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria, (SFPN) Ekiti Zone, has said that about seven million Nigerians currently suffer stress and depression.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the medical consultant made this disclosure at Ado Ekiti in a ceremony organised by the Information Chapel of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
In a paper titled “’Stress and Depression in Workplace: Strategic approach to management’’ he described stress as an exaggeration of normal physical response to events and life challenges that makes a person feel threatened or upset in some ways.
He added that depression was a common mental health problem that affect 29 million persons in Africa, out of an estimated 322 million people currently affected worldwide.
The medical expert who doubles as the current Chief Consultant, Family Health of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, identified major causes of stress in workplace.
He said that they could be ambiguity in the job schedule of workers, career development pressure, poor working environment lack of job security, fear of redundancy and early retirement.
He listed other causes as the struggle to meet unrealistic targets, poor interpersonal relationship with colleagues and superiors in various offices as well as low trust level and lack of problem shared.
He stressed that no human being had absolute immunity from depression under certain circumstances.
Shabi said that the major symptoms of the condition included persistent sad moods, loss of pleasure in usual activities, feeling of helplessness and guilt.
Others are worthlessness, fatigue or decreased energy, loss of memory and concentration, loss of decision-making capability, poor abstract reasoning, restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance and loss in appetite or weight.
The SFPN zonal chairman listed major causes of stressful life conditions outside the work-place as low literacy level, poverty, short life expectancy, negative life events such as bereavement, job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, loneliness, childhood abuse and neglected medical illnesses.
Others are; exposure to chronic pains as well as imbibing some mentally stressful lifestyles such as misuse of certain prescription drugs and abuse of substances such as cocaine, narcotics and alcohol.
The Family Health Consultant identified strategies for managing stress as to avoiding unnecessary stress, reducing job stress by improving emotional intelligence, creating time for fun and relaxation.
He added that stress could be managed by better management of one’s time, and the ability to reframe from problems, focus on positive things, accepting things one cannot change.
“The ability to share ones feelings with friends, resolve conflicts positively, adopting healthy lifestyles, exercising regularly, eating healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, reducing sugar and caffeine as well as getting enough sleep’’.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ekiti State Ministry of Information, Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Kola Ajumobi, advised workers to pay more attention to their health to reduce their chances of becoming victims of Sudden Death Syndrome.
Ajumobi described the lecture as necessary and timely, stressing that more attention was needed to achieve good health in view of the prevailing economic recession and some terminal illnesses such as hypertension, depression amongst others.
Ajumobi said that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
He urged people not to wait until they fall sick before they are mindful of their health, stressing that “prevention is better than cure’’.