Par­ents, specialists ex­cited over al­ter­na­tive drug ad­dic­tion treat­ment

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By Ruby Leo

Re­lief may have come the way of some par­ents as a team of specialists re­cently un­veiled an al­ter­na­tive method of treat­ing drug ad­dic­tion and de­pres­sion through the use of Repet­i­tive Tran­scra­nial Mag­netic Stim­u­la­tion (rTMs).

The specialists, who in­cluded psy­chi­a­trists, phys­io­ther­a­pists, neu­ro­sur­geons and psy­chol­o­gists, said the treat­ment, though ex­pen­sive, was a welcome devel­op­ment in view of the alarm­ing rate of re­lapse suf­fered by pa­tients in the course of treat­ment.

Un­veil­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to par­ents and some specialists in Abuja, at Sy­napse Centre, Dr Vin­cent Udenze, manag­ing direc­tor of Sy­napse Ser­vices (Men­tal Health and Drug Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Centre) said that physio-ther­apy and med­i­ca­tion used to treat ad­dic­tion had helped but had its own down­sides.

He said most specialists had to change their treat­ment pro­gramme on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to cope with the com­plex­ity of the cases just to make sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence.

He shared the feel­ings with par­ents who of­ten asked “why can’t they just stop?”

For some par­ents, they have been to dif­fer­ent re­hab cen­tres world­wide and just when they think their son/daugh­ter is okay, an­other ma­jor re­lapse oc­curs. Some par­ents have adopted the “si­don dey look strat­egy” im­ply­ing a sense of help­less­ness and pos­si­ble hope­less­ness.

Udenze said it was not just fam­i­lies in Nige­ria or clin­i­cians in the coun­try that were bat­tling with a way for­ward. It’s a global prob­lem.

Ear­lier, Dr Claus Mathiesen, ap­pli­ca­tion spe­cial­ist from Den­mark who gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on how the ma­chine worked noted that it stim­u­lated the nerves al­ready dam­aged by ad­dic­tion to re­spond to rea­son­ing and help the pa­tient make in­formed de­ci­sions.

He added that the ma­chine, which was new in West Africa, had been li­censed to treat de­pres­sion, men­tal dis­or­der, co­caine ad­dic­tion, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of peo­ple who have suf­fered stroke, mi­graine, sleep prob­lems and anx­i­ety.

The head of psychiatrist of the Univer­sity of Jos, Pro­fes­sor Obindo James Taiwo, said the al­ter­na­tive had been re­vealed to be ef­fec­tive and faster in treat­ing men­tal dis­or­der.

He lamented that treat­ing ad­dic­tion was quite chal­leng­ing as most of the time the med­i­ca­tions were un­avail­able and the rate of re­lapse was alarm­ing.

A neuro-psychologist from Kaduna, Dr Ebiti Williams, noted that though they were ex­cited over the treat­ment, what would de­ter­mine its suc­cess was how their pa­tients would re­act to the treat­ment.

He added that the tech­nol­ogy would go a long way in re­duc­ing the long queues of ad­dicts who poured into hos­pi­tals seek­ing care.

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