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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 99-104

Health workers' opinion about catatonia in a Nigerian tertiary health facility

Department of Psychiatry, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Musa Gambo Takai
Department of Psychiatry, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, PMB 3452, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0331-8540.181230

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Background: Catatonia is a clinical syndrome that appears in many psychiatric and medical illnesses, yet most clinicians globally tend to view it as a purely psychiatric disorder. Aim: The aim of the present study was to determine the clinicians' ability and to identify patients with catatonia. Setting: This study was conducted in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria. Methods: The study was a descriptive and cross-sectional study that interviewed randomly selected 252 clinical staff comprising of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. A pilot tested, researcher designed self-administered questionnaire was used to elicit the participants' sociodemographic information as well as their ability to identify catatonia. Results: Of 252 respondents, 120 (47.6%) were males and 132 (52.4%) were females. The mean age of the respondents was 35.9 ± 7.61 years. The majority of the respondents 172 (68%) had at least 5 years of working experience. Large proportion 215 (85%) of health professionals in this study identified catatonia as a type of mental illness. About one-third of the participants, i.e., 87 (35%) were able to identify the condition as catatonia whereas majority, i.e., 155 (62%) identified the condition as schizophrenia. A large proportion 168 (67%) of the health workers despite their years of professional experience thought catatonia was a disorder for only psychiatrists. Conclusions: The study shows that majority of health professionals with prime role in patients' care had difficulty detecting catatonia. Most of them viewed catatonia as a mental illness that should be treated by a psychiatrist. This underscores the need to plan an enlightenment program on identification and management of patients with catatonia among clinicians in Nigeria.

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