Infertility can cause mental disorders -Psychiatrist

Infertility can cause mental disorders -Psychiatrist

Dr Emefa Dzordzorme

 A Resident Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Emefa Adzo Dzordzorme, has identified infertility as one of the contributory factors to mental disorders among childless couples, particularly women.

According to her, the psychological issues and challenges childless women experience can be worsened by de­rogatory comments and stigma.

Dr Dzordzorme said this at a train­ing programme for Health Journalists organised by the Merck Foundation in collaboration with the Ghana Journal­ists Association (GJA).

The media training forms part of a community awareness programme by Merck Foundation in partnership with Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, who is an ambassador of the “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” campaign.

Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant with frequent unprotected sex for at least a year without suc­cess.

According to her, women most­ly suffer the brunt of childlessness although the problem could be from both husband and wife or one of them.

She said in most Ghanaian societies, childless women were often mocked at gatherings such as workplaces, churches, family gatherings, and oth­er social events, which has the ten­dency to compound already existing psychological issues affecting them.

She stated that issues of infertility could cause mental distress and make people have low self-esteem as they internalise some of the expectations of society, which could trigger depres­sive episodes.

“Infertility does not cause men­tal illness, but it contributes to the development and maintenance of a mental illness,” Dr Dzordzorme said.

She encouraged people suffering from infertility to seek help from specialists to help them deal with the biological issues as well as social and psychological.

Dr Dzordzorme advised individuals not to suffer alone since help was available, saying, “Whether you are going through infertility stigma, or mental health challenges, there are specialised practitioners available to help.”

She also urged the public to walk into the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and any of the regional hospitals and mental health units in the districts to seek help.

 By Jemima Esinam Kuatsinu

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