Millions of people struggle daily for life, swimming in a poverty pool. They lack money to buy food to last until the next day, though asking where the next meal is going to come from. This is stressful enough.

poverty-stressIn USA, In Rwanda and worldwide, the psychological effects of poverty are detrimental to people’s health. Poverty has a huge effect on the brain since it places a huge amount of mental strain on poor people. This makes it hard to focus on work and school, makes it harder to remember things and causes a decrease in patience and awareness.

Researchers have determined that the mental strain placed on a poor person is very immense, and it affects his/her ability to do well. This is obvious in all domains school and work as well.

The reason is obvious and clear: the mental processing is finite, one thinks less quickly at the end of a long day. This means, according to scientists, that the limited brain power caused by poverty, is likely to create a series of problems in handling everyday tasks.

The stress rends to death

Adding to the reduced mental capacity brought on by poverty, the poor man has to navigate in everyday stress, made far worse by lack of income. In USA, and elsewhere, some causes are on top of stress stimuli. These include: overloaded work or tension with boss and workmate, loss of job, chronic illness, conjugal life (spouse death, divorce), inadequate nutrition, social media and sleep deprivation.

Africans and rest of world, people are overloaded, and stress rend them to suicide and murder, after taking drugs. Intra-family conflicts are, the most often, main cause of sudden deaths.

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Poverty rending to stress and death, has even physical symptoms. In USA, poverty cause different physical symptoms on the following rates: 44% headache, 35% to cry, 45% nervous, 23% change appetite, 17% grind teeth, 50% are irritated, anxious and angry, 34% feel upset stomach, 51% feel fatigue, 15% change in sex drive, and 45 % lack energy and muscle tension.

According the, these unexplained physical or psychological symptoms such as nervousness, muscle tension, excess fatigue, headaches, dizziness or lack of energy;  are all linked to stress from poverty.  Dealing with these symptoms for too long can lead to an untimely death, yet can possibly be avoided if you seek help.

However, psycho-social service seem to be forgotten or not developed in some developing countries. “We only deal with the end, not the whole process” they say.

Statistics in Rwanda 2014, show that poverty is on 39%, while extreme poverty is on 16% (EICV 4). Records from courts and police, show that cases of murder, assault and suicide are rather related to family conflict not poverty and tress. However, poverty is also one of cause of conflicts.

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Jean Baptiste Karegeya


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