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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

INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY: REFLECTING ON THE MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES OF NURSES

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Today’s reflection will be on the Nurses’’ day that was celebrated worldwide on the 12th of May. The day is celebrated in remembrance of the birth Florence Nightingale who is the pioneer of modern day professional nursing. The theme for this year is “Nurses: A voice to lead-Health for All.”

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system as in every health care facility they are there to provide care. They are the single largest group of professionals in the clinical field.
The crux of the discussion is that professional nurses experience burnout and workplace stress because of the nature of the demands of the nursing job. These emanate from working long hours, emotional exhaustion from dealing with vulnerable and ailing clientele, experience of traumatic events, fulfilment of high professional and public expectations and low reward outcomes for their efforts.

The nurses’ already volatile ordeal is further compounded by incidences of nurses being assaulted, emotionally abused, physically abused, sexually assaulted and cyber bullied by the same individuals that they seek to render care for.

The above highlighted challenges can be emotionally draining to the nurses and even facilitate development of mental health problems if they are not attended to promptly. This has been affirmed by various studies.

A review paper done by Vasconcelos and others in 2016 highlighted that the risk of exposure to HIV and poor relationships with administrators as other associated factors that facilitated development of mental disorders.

The review found the following as affecting most of our nurses; post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress reaction, generalised anxiety disorder, depression and over indulgence in substances.
Nursing managers, the patients as well members of the community need to play a pivotal role in ensuring protective factors towards nurses’ mental health are availed.

The good thing is that this can be ensured by helping nurse build resilience, having debriefing sessions for nurses working in trauma care and having measures like retreats to name but a few. Nurses need to be healthy for them to be custodians for “health for all”.

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Mental Health Series

WHAT WE EAT CAN AFFECT OUR MENTAL HEALTH

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I had a chat with friend over the weekend and he felt that dieticians placed at psychiatric hospitals are misplaced. The basis of today discussion will be herein a response to this.

Nutrition does play a critical role in mental health hence the need for dieticians to be involved in this field as it is the case now. As noted by the research team led by Joseph Firth, “nutritional deficiencies resulting from insufficient intake of nutrients critical to human health are a risk factor for psychiatric and mental disorders.”

Our brains needs food for them to function optimally. Concentration, memory, analysing to name but a few can all be attained by a “well fed brain.” If the brain is deprived of nutrients, it can incur oxidative stress which results in brain cell damage. Brain cells are irreplaceable and their damage facilitates the development of some mental disorders Experience of mental health problems may also be associated with poorer diet and physical health.

Poor nutrition has been implicated in the onset of schizophrenia by various research findings. Studies on schizophrenia patients indicated that the nutrients Zinc and Selenium were found to be compromised whilst in others there was insufficient Vitamin D deficiency.

Other research conducted has determined that the following supplements: zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 are essential in elevating people’s mood, relieving anxiety and depression. Insufficient Omega-3 fatty acids has additionally been linked to low mood, poor concentration, cognitive decline and poor comprehension.

It is clear from the discussion that good nutrition is critical for our mental health and that dieticians are relevant in mental health. An affordable balanced diet which contains the essential nutrients is necessary to be taken to ensure that mental health is uplifted. Nutrition alone cannot ensure our mental but it has a significant adjunctive role. As posited by local author Lindo Morolong, “what you feed your body shapes your health.”

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