Alcohol consumption, mental health status, and treatment in Nigeria and Uganda

Birgitte Thylstrup, Kim Bloomfield, Abdu K Seid


Background: The current level of alcohol consumption has placed Nigeria and Uganda in the group of high consumption countries, however little is known about how people with problematic alcohol use and related problems utilize treatment services.
Aims: This study examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and mental health status in Nigeria and Uganda, and the relationship between heavy episodic drinking and treatment-seeking and treatment-receiving behavior.
Data and methods: Analyses were based on cross-sectional survey data from Nigeria (N= 2018) and Uganda (N=1478) aged > 18 years from the 2003 Gender, Alcohol, and Culture: An International Study (GENACIS).
Results: In both countries, the level of alcohol consumption was comparatively high, however, associations between drinking status and mental health problems were found only in Nigeria. Heavy episodic drinkers were more likely to report having sought help in both countries, only in Nigeria was it also related to ever receiving help.
Conclusion: National strategies in both countries must continue allocation of resources to treatment services, supporting treatment availability and early identification of alcohol and related mental health problems. Implementation of national alcohol policies should be followed up with assessment and adjustments.


Alcohol problems; drinking patterns; mental health; treatment; Nigeria; Uganda

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