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Causes of Mental Illness (Traditional Healers) Types of Mental Illness among Yoruba tribe of Nigeria

  Causes of Mental Illness (Traditional Healers)

Types of Mental Illness among Yoruba tribe of Nigeria 

1.  Were EPE

Psychotic illness attributed to curses

2. Were Sopona, Were Olode, Were Baba

Severe infections especially small pox and chicken pox

3. Were Anjonu

Psychotic illnesses due to spirits

4. Were Abatorunwa/Iran

Inherited psychotic illness

5. Dindinrin, A lore

Mental subnormality

6. Were afise nipa gbigbe ogun fun je

Psychotic illnesses resulting from poison

7. Were igbo mimu

Psychotic illnesses resulting from smoking Indian hemp

8. Were Inuun, ode ori, irony

Bizarre behavior arising from thinking too much on a problem.  Symptoms usually felt in the head, chest or abdomen.

9. Were latiowo aje tabi oso

Mental illness by witches or wizards

10. Were abisinwin

Puerperal psychosis

11. Were warapa

Mental Illnesses associated with epilepsy

12. Were ponbele

Acute psychotic illness within any discernible cause


Classification of Mental Illness by Traditional Healers

 In their diagnostic classifications, the traditional healer rely on two main factors:
1.    The etiological factors

2.    The symptomology


The major mental illnesses identified by the traditional healers can be divided into eight broad groups according to the traditional healers’ conception of causation or presentation.  
1.    Mental illnesses caused by supernatural powers, e.g: “Were Asasi” – Mental illness “Were Aganna” – Mental illness due to infections, e.g. small pox “Were Anjonu” – Mentla illness due to spirits

2.    Inherited mental illnesses, e.g. “ Were Iran ” – (in the family) “Abatorunwa” – (brought from heaven) “Were Gidi” – (the true insanity)

3.    Neurotic illnesses, e.g. “Ode ori” – Heat in the head “Innu” – Fearful feelings, palpitations, insomnia


Mental illnesses labeled with the dominating symptoms:
“Were alaroye” –Mental illness with unabated talking. “Were tutu” – Withdrawn patients, possibly catatonic stupor or  depression. “Were asaka” –Restless, wandering and uncontrollable mentally ill client. “Were alaso” – A mentally ill person preoccupied with collection of rages and junk.“Were yada, yobe” – Physically aggressive clients going around with dangerous instruments, such as knives or cutlass.