Within Saudi Arabia, healthcare for illnesses such as anxiety is available but still developing. The WHO offers some insight into the country’s current options. In addition to the primary psychiatric hospital, Taif Mental Health Hospital, there are also 14 secondary hospitals and 61 psychiatric departments or clinics throughout the nation. Limited care can also be received at military, National Guard, university and private hospitals.
Prevalence of Anxiety in Saudi Society
The exact number of those with anxiety disorders in Saudi Arabia is unknown. Some psychiatrists estimate that 50% of the population is mentally ill. Local specialist, Malak Al-Mleik, stated that men were more susceptible to developing phobias and anxieties than women.
Research on Anxiety in Saudi Arabia
There have been a range of studies looking at the prevalence of anxiety in certain localised groups. In primary healthcare centres in the eastern cities of Dammam and Al-Qatif, 22.3% and 17.0% of male attendees had serious and mild anxiety respectively. Those with anxiety were statistically likely to be single.
A second study examined end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients on hemodialysis. In this group, 21.1% and 23.3% were probable cases of anxiety and depression respectively. Only 11.3% were diagnosed with these mental disorders however. With regards to anxiety, age and major family problems were deemed likely predictors to the disease and it is hoped this will assist with early detection and improved clinical outcomes.
It also seems that some groups are more prone to anxiety than others in Saudi society. One research paper investigated a local medical college and found that 60.6% of female students and 44.4% of male students suffered from either anxiety or depression. The study stated this was consistent with other research from the West plus nations such as Pakistan, India and the UAE. This higher prevalence seems to be isolated to universities at least, since another study looking at high school children found that only 15.5% of students had a mental disorder with 17.3% of these having phobic anxiety.
Saudi Diagnoses in Mental Health
In general, mental health disorders in Saudi Arabia have a very low detection rate. In Al-Khobar, while 22% of patients were found to have conditions such as depression and anxiety, only 8% of these were formally diagnosed. In Riyadh, the same pattern has emerged. Although 30% of patients have mental disorders, the large majority have gone undiagnosed. While long-term training programs like the ones offered at King Fahad University Hospital are helpful in increasing these detection rates, more work must be done to improve treatment in the Saudi community.
Societal Issues and Mental Disorders
Another major hurdle is the stigma mental health issues have in Saudi society. Most patients have a hard time acknowledging their illnesses. The media is partially to blame as it portrays the cause of mental diseases as insanity rather than a combination of outside factors. There is also a common belief in the evil eye, a curse placed by someone else which results in specific physical or mental problems.
Seeking Anxiety Treatment Elsewhere
Because of Saudi Arabiaís developing mental health field and the stigma that conditions such as anxiety have in local society, many individuals look overseas for treatment. Camino Recovery has treated patients from all over Saudi Arabia and boasts a team of clinical and support staff who specialise in anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Our private retreat is found on the Andalusian Coast in the south of Spain less than an hour’s drive from Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport. After checking into our private villa, we will create a therapy schedule tailored especially for your needs. This can include a range of treatments including group therapy, equine assisted psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and more.
Long-term Treatment for Saudi Citizens
We aim to deliver results that are effective and long-lasting through treatments that ensure a balanced mind while at our retreat and later on when patients return to Saudi Arabia. Our counselling team will work closely with each individual, ensuring they deal with the mental struggles that anxiety can bring and seek out the root cause of these internal issues.
Booking treatment at Camino Recovery is a smart choice for Saudis seeking assistance with mental problems such as anxiety. Not only will our multi-disciplinary team deliver effective results, we will do so without the negative stigma found in Saudi society. After a quick 12-hour flight from Riyadh, we will pick you up at the airport and take you away to receive first class therapy in our seaside retreat.
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To start your journey towards recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex – and to address any associated issues such as depression, anxiety or trauma – speak to us in confidence today.
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