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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 49-53

Childhood psychiatric disorders: Problems and prospects in Enugu, Nigeria

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M.D., FMCPsych Mbadiwe Onyeama
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: To sensitize health professionals in general and medical doctors in particular on the need to pay adequate attention to childhood psychiatric disorders, to highlight the problems associated with the management of such disorders and to point out the existing prospects for their proper management here in Enugu. Method: Four cases of childhood psychiatric disorders presenting to a general psychiatrist in Enugu are reported with details of the mode of presentation, possible aetiological factors, and the kinds of treatment offered as well as the results of psychiatric management. Results: The four cases show the different kinds of problems encountered in the management of childhood mental disorders here in Enugu. The main problems include : delay in referral to the psychiatrist; a convoluted pathway to care in childhood psychiatric disorders; sociocultural influences on orthodox care; inconsistent treatment and follow-up; the role, and lack of it, of doctors and other health professionals in facilitating early intervention; iatrogenic complications and lack of expertise in the field of child psychiatry. Conclusion: It is of paramount importance that doctors of all specialties and health professionals should be aware of the problems encountered by families and children suffering from mental disorders. The need for early intervention and/or referral to the psychiatric cannot be overemphasized.

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