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Mental Health Series

Narcistic personality disorder explained

The MidweekSun Admin

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In the Greek mythology, there once existed a god known as Narcissus. At one point Narcissus went to a pool to quench his thirst and the moment he bent to sip water he saw his image. He got stuck with admiration of his image in the pool that he died right in the pool because of thirst. He got so absorbed in himself that he neglected other important life aspects.

In this era we still have people with Narcissus traits in our midst. A personality disorder known as narcissistic personality disorder was named after Narcissus. The individuals whom are often self-centred, have absolute disdain for others, have misplaced feelings of self-importance and uniqueness are often diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder when they seek psychological help.
Other symptoms of the disorder may include;

Showing arrogant behaviour and attitude
Lack of empathy for other people
Believe that people are envious of him/her
Using or exploiting others to reach own goals
Having some sense of entitlement on leadership positions even when they have no qualifications
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Demanding special treatment when attending occasions
Monopolise conversations

The society often views the individuals having the disorder as controlling, egocentric, intolerant of others viewpoints and ultra-sensitive when criticised. Individuals with this disorder often have problems interacting with other employees in the workplace and have relationship problems. This extreme confidence is often a mask for a fragile self-esteem which often predisposes them to depression.

1 % of the world population is often affected by the disorder; with more males than females affected. Offspring of parents with the disorder are at a high risk of developing the disorders themselves! Disorders of personality are in most cases difficult to deal with but narcissism is chronic and most difficult to deal with. Psychotherapy especially group counselling maybe ideal to assist individuals with narcissistic disorder in order to try facilitate relationships with others. Medications maybe used to treat any complications or other symptoms.

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Mental Health Series

The effects of dagga on mental health

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Recently the South African Supreme Court legalised the private use of dagga. Individuals are allowed to consume dagga in private and also grow for private use. The judgement brought mixed reactions on the issue and further fuelled the debate on dagga.

There are those who have used this judgement to the detriment of their own health. The crux of the matter though is that adverse effects of dagga cannot be underemphasised as far as mental health is concerned. Dagga use is quite popular amongst the youth which ostensibly explains the prevalence of dagga related disorders amongst them.

Effects of dagga are instant upon use. When dagga is smoked, it gets into the blood stream and then blood –brain barrier. This results in depressed brain activity, the end result being production of a dreamy state manifesting as delusions or hallucinations.

Delusions are altered thoughts whereby one may think he is a president when the reality is he is not. Hallucinations on the other hand is when an individual has distorted perceptions of reality like seeing a lion when it’s not there!

Others effects include:
paranoia,
panic attacks
anxiety
Impaired coordination and balance
Impairment in learning and memory

Various research studies have shown that heavy use of dagga facilitates the development of schizophrenia and substance use disorders. The amount of the drug used and the age at first use often place an increased vulnerability to develop these disorders. This explicitly explains why there are many youth who are having substance use disorders in our country.

Those using dagga may develop amotivational syndrome which basically means they have lost the willpower to do meaningful activities in life! This is basically the stroke that breaks the camel’s back, as other mental health problems may manifest from this.

Those whom are already diagnosed with mental health disorders can have symptoms of their conditions worsening when they use dagga. Depression and anxiety are often made worse by use of dagga. The false perception that taking dagga has a calming effect often predisposes those having mental health problems to take it in order to deal with their illness burden.

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Mental Health Series

Promoting mental health of the judiciary employees

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We always take workplace mental health issues universally but I would like to highlight that those working in the judiciary be it, Judges, Magistrates and court clerks, have peculiar conditions. I recently presented on the matter at Lobatse Magistrate Court wellness day and will share for the benefit of others.

Individuals under the judiciary employ play a critical role in Botswana mental health system. The Master of High Court appoints a curator bonis (trustee) to look into the custody of a mentally incapacitated individual whom cannot take decisions for self.

But how do the dynamics of their work affect their mental health? How can their mental health be promoted in the workplace?Judges, Magistrates and Court clerks preside over horrific criminal trials.

During trials they may be shown graphic images of the incident whilst at the same time there is narration! As highlighted in previous articles, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop after hearing of a horrific accident or simply seeing images.

Various researches have indicated that many judiciary employees experience flashbacks of the incidents as they were narrated in court.Those working in courts may receive verbal onslaught from those being tried and their families.

A case in point is “Le tla immentioner” episode whereupon the Magistrate was attacked. Those experiencing this trauma may develop depression. Some may come up with maladaptive coping methods like indulging in substance use ultimately developing substance use and addiction disorders.

Judges and Magistrates are the custodians of justice and may experience stress when making judgements. They try by all means not to make erroneous judgements which exposes them to intense mental health exhaustion.

It is very important to highlight that mental health services should also be provided to them. Some of the following can be of help;Debriefing should be done after highly toxic court cases that are emotionally draining.

Health retreats should be plannedDepression and substance use screening to identify those having problems and then assist.

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