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Port Moresby
October 27, 2021

Betel Nut A Danger to Mental Health

A prominent psychologist in Papua New Guinea, Dr Uma Ambi, has provided some insight into the mental health implications of consistent buai chewing.

Dr. Ambi reflects on the act of chewing betel nut, which has grown extensively outside of cultural traditions.

She says constant use can present mental health implications for individuals, such as: psychological dependence, addiction and habituation.

“You can have habituation, meaning it will become a habit; it can also become a psychological dependence, if you don’t chew, you become lazy, boring, sleepy and tired; and it causes addiction because it’s a form of a drug,” said Dr. Ambi.
“It was sanctioned bythe culture for certain occasion but we have misused it and have gone to a stage of destroying everyone around us,” said Dr. Ambi.

The ban has ignited protests around the capital city by betel nut sellers. However,the NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, has remained firm on the council’s decision for the betterment of the city.

The ban will impose restrictions and control of the two main groups in Port Moresby-the users also known as the chewers and the traders who grow and sell.

Dr. Ambi reinforces Governor Powes Parkop’s message on positive attitude and change the Ben will bring. She says changes for the sake of health is important for a better life, not just for individuals but for the country.

Pictured: Prominent psychologist in Papua New Guinea Dr Uma Ambi.

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