Wednesday, March 20

Drug abuse, personality disorder among main causes of mental illness

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According to psychiatrists, drug abuse and mental health problems are related. AFP File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: On Wednesday, the senseless murder of two young children in an amok incident in Yan, Kedah, has left the nation reeling in shock.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident when the perpetrators in such cases often associated with two major problems – drug abuse or suffering from mental illness, or both.

According to psychiatrists, drug abuse and mental health problems are related. Likewise with those who are addicted to alcohol.

Access Counselling Services consultant Dr Meriam Omar Din said drugs and alcohol factors could cause a person to experience acute hallucinations and delusions as well as behaving violently.

“In fact, synthetic drugs such as syabu (methamphetamine) or psychotropic pills can also causing aggression and violence or hallucinations where the users or addicts are no longer aware of what they are doing,” she said when contacted by Bernama.

She was commenting on the incident where two children were killed by a suspected drug addict. The tragedy is the fifth since October 2016 involving drug addiction.

At the same time, Dr Meriam also did not rule out that there was a possibility that the perpetrators also experienced personality disorder including interpersonal communication problems as well as the inability to control excessive emotions.

“Without skills in solving interpersonal problems, the suspect may become withdrawn and eventually attacking others violently when they can’t control their emotions. Perhaps, the suspect is also facing problems, one after another,” she said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya’s senior consultant psychiatrist Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari said if a person had shown signs that could pose threat to others, vengeful, with potentials of behaving violently or to inflict self-harm, he or she should seek help to identify the problems.

“Besides, there is also a need to investigate to identify a person with mental health symptoms that may be developed into mental illness if not treated early. Only psychiatrists can evaluate a person’s mental illness,” he said.

Dr Muhammad Muhsin, who is also the vice-president of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA), said the people also need to be mindful if their family members have signs of depression and so forth and to immediately help them to seek early treatment. – Bernama