DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study was conducted among adults aged 18-55 with a mean age of 31.55 years. Another similar study was conducted in Australia, although the age range of respondents in Australia was 18-94 with a mean age of 44.50. Respondents in this study were slightly younger than those in the study done in Australia20.
The respondents’ correct recognition rate of symptoms of depression in this study is very similar to that obtained in South Western Ethopia where 47.8% of respondents correctly identified poor sleep pattern as a symptom of depression. About 42% of the respondents also believed sleep disturbance was one of the prominent features of depression in the Study done in South Western Ethopia23.
This shows that there is a possibility that people in the developed countries are more knowledgeable about depressive symptoms compared to developing countries like Nigeria where the study was conducted.
When compared to the study done in nine developed countries it was observed that 40% of the respondents believed that wrong lifestyle was a possible cause of depression while 53.3% of the respondents in this study also thought it was a risk factor for depression21. Problems with other people, attracted a very low positive response from the respondents in the nine developed countries(8.1%)compared with the 52.1% obtained in this study21.
However only 63.0% of the respondents in this agreed that life events/severe difficulties could cause depression. This is in contrast to the findings of the study done in the nine developed countries where majority 80% of respondents believed that severe difficulties/life events could cause depression23. Only 19.6% of respondents’ in the study done in nine developed countries believed that depression could be caused by environmental factors this is also in contrast with this study where more than half 59.3% of respondents agreed to this statement22.
A similar study done in Nigeria by Oye Guruje showed that 26.5% of respondents believed that genetic inheritance could predispose people to depression while 14.7% agreed on physical abuse as a cause of depression. This study shows that 46.0% of respondents recognised genetic inheritance as a possible cause of depression while 51.5% agreed on physical abuse as a cause of depression26.
The implication of these findings is that there is a relative knowledge gap on the etiology of depression in Nigeria as majority of the respondents in each case could not correctly identify risk factors of depression.
About 28.5% of respondents in this study knew that when depressive symptoms persist for 2 weeks it is called clinical depression while 26.6% of them knew that depressive disorders could be classified into Unipolar and bipolar disorders.
This implies that depression might not be easily identified by respondents when it occurs and there could be delay in treatment or aggravation of depressive condition since they lack knowledge on how long depressive symptoms should last to differentiate depression from normal sadness.
When asked about preferred treatment of depression 47.3% would prefer seeking help from General Medical Practitioners when depressed. However 36.4% prefered going to friends, a very low number thought traditional healers and religious priests would be helpful. This is in contrast to the study done in the nine developed countries where more than half of the respondents believed that a medical doctor would be the best person to seek help from21.
This implies that many of depressed cases would go unnoticed and poorly treated because depressed persons would shy away from proper treatment in a Medical hospital but would rather prefer unorthodox means of treating depression such as friends, religious priests or traditional healers.
While 27.8% of respondents in this study were of the opinion that anti depressants are the best form of treatment for depression,in the study of knowledge and attitude of general practitioners towards depression in Tanzania, 50% of respondents believed that psychotherapy would be more beneficial than anti depressants23.
This implies that respondents in Tanzania, another developing country do not believe that antidepressants are effective in treating depression likewise in Nigeria where more of the respondents believe anti depressants are not the best form of treatment for depression.
In Turkey however 25.3% of respondents believed anti depressants have severe side effects.This is very similar to the opinion of 22.5% of repondents in this study who also thought there could be adverse effcts associated with anti depressants22. Therefore more of the respondents would likely not consider taking anti depressants if depressed because of the adverse effects.
A study done in Turkey revealed that about 50% of respondents had a negative attitude towards depression while this study had 44.2% of respondents with negative attitude28. Another study done in Ireland however was quite similar to this study where about 43% of respondents had negative attitude towards depression.
In Ghana about 46.9% 0f the respondents had a negative attitude towards depression while another study carried out among primary health care workers in Nigeria showed a very high((84.0%) of negative attitude from the respondents on depression.
This implies that people with negative attitude towards depression would make treatment of depression difficult as they would not want to seek help from medical hospitals nor encourage depressed persons to open up and seek treatment probably because they might feel stigmatized.
Finally this study has revealed that factors such as age,occupation, tribe and religion do not influence the knowledge and attitude of respondents to depression.On the other hand the result also shows that gender affects knowledge of depression but has no effect on attitude to depression.
This study was carried out among adults aged 18-55 in Lagos Mainland Local Government area to assess their level of knowledge and attitude towards depression.
The study reveals that 52.1% had good knowledge of depression, 28.5% of the respondents had fair knowledge of depression, and 19.4% had poor knowledge of depression.
About 55.8% had positive attitude towards depression and about 44.2% had negative attitude towards depression.
The study shows that factors such as age, occupation, tribe and religion do not affect knowledge and attitude to depression. On the other hand the result also shows that gender affects knowledge of depression but has no effect on attitude to depression.
Based on the respondents’ significant knowledge gap on depression which was revealed in the findings and their inherent negative attitude to depressed people the following recommendations are being made for possible bridge of the knowledge gap and improvement of the adverse attitude to depression.
- Effort should be made by health workers to conduct workshops and seminars to educate the public on the subject topic ‘Depression’ so as to improve people’s awareness of it and get them educated about the causes and symptoms of depression and the care and treatment for depressed persons.
- The federal, state and local government should help in the sensitization of people on the existence and observance of the mental health day celebration to enable philanthropists to contribute financially to the care and rehabilitation of victims of depression.
- Government also needs to intensify efforts on the provision of basic utilities and amenities for people to enable them have some comfort and live a stress free life.