By Sade Oguntola
The prevalence of depression among full-time undergraduate students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, is worrisome, with many depressed and an appreciable number of them having major depression, a study says.
In a new study, researchers found approximately half (49.5%) of these undergraduates that were 18 years and above and apparently well without previous history of mental illness were depressed and 20.4% of them had major depression.
In addition, the study that involved 412 full-time undergraduates of LAUTECH found problematic alcohol use in 10.4% of them and they were mostly among males. However, there was no significant association between depression, alcohol use and problematic alcohol use. It was in the International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal.
Problematic alcohol use, which includes harmful use, hazardous use and dependent use, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality associated with more than 200 diseases and injuries. Alcohol has also been seen as the gateway to other psychoactive substance use, especially among students.
In the study, the majority of the respondents fell within 18 and 25 years, were single, and Yorubas. Four hundred and one (97.3%) respondents engaged in frequent (at least once a week) religious activities, while (0.7%) were not involved in religious activities at all.
Most of them reported that their parents (fathers-75%, mothers-86.2%) do not use psychoactive substances, 41 respondents (10%) reported having fathers who consumed alcohol only, and 1.7% reported having fathers who consume alcohol and other substances.
About 31.8% of them had drunk alcohol before either within the category of normal drinking or those considered to be problematic drinking (harmful, hazardous, and dependent use).
The mean age of respondents initiating alcohol use in this study was found to be 14.49 years. This shows that most students start alcohol use before gaining admission into the university.
According to the study, “Although there was no conclusive link between depression, alcohol use and problematic drinking in this study yet the rising prevalence of alcohol use among students calls for public concern.
“The effect of alcohol on cognitive function is enormous, especially on students. Heavy drinking could impair judgment, memory and unhealthy behaviours which could affect both immediate academic and future performance.
“Also, depression is a major cause of suicide and suicidal ideation. There is a need for prompt interventions at family, community and government levels to curb this rising menace among university students in order to secure their futures.”
(Courtesy: Nigerian Tribune)