Symptoms of Depression
Clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder is not just about feeling sad, blue or unhappy. It is a medical condition characterised by the following symptoms for a period of at least two weeks (based on DSM IV):
- depressed mood nearly every day
- loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
- significant weight loss or weight gain
- poor sleep or over sleeping
- agitation / irritability / restlessness or feeling slowed down
- feeling tired easily or loss of energy
- feeling worthless or having excessive guilt
- poor concentration, difficulty thinking or forgetfulness
- suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts
Prevalence of Depression
In Singapore, one in fifteen people will have depression at least once in their lifetime. And according to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people suffer from depression globally. Many sufferers are worried about seeking help. They think that they may be stigmatised and their career or studies will be affected. However, without treatment, depression in itself can cause difficulties. Sufferers find it hard to concentrate and are tired all the time. They have no mood to do the things they like or to do their work. Many feel like life is no longer meaningful and wish that they can sleep their life away. In severe depression, they may have suicidal thoughts and may act on these thoughts.
Causes of Depression
Like most medical illnesses, the causes of depression are multifactorial, that is to say that many factors come together at the same time resulting in depression for an individual.
If you are suffering from depression, it is likely that you have a biological predisposition. Sometimes this can be genetic and hereditary. In people with depression, the levels of certain neurotransmitter chemicals are low between the synaptic clefts of neurons in the brain. Antidepressant medications work by increasing these neurochemicals.
Psychologically, you may have inaccurate negative believes and thoughts about yourself. Having a negative self image will make you feel lousy about yourself and you may think that you are not worthy as a person or you may feel unloved. Psychotherapy will help you to identify these negative automatic thoughts and your psychiatrist will teach you how to deal with them.
Socially, you may be facing difficulties and stresses. If you are juggling between your job, studying for your postgraduate examination, anoxious about the birth of your newborn and moving to a new apartment all at the same time, these life events can often weigh you down and trigger an episode of depression.
Other Types of Depression
Other types of depression include:
1) Dysthymic Disorder – Long term mild depressive symptoms for more than two years.
2) Cyclothymic Disorder – A milder form of Bipolar Disorder where the sufferer alternates between depressed mood and hypomanic symptoms.
3) Seasonal Affective Disorder – Depression with a seasonal pattern, usually starting in winter.
4) Antenatal and Postnatal Depression – Women are at risk of depression during (antenatal) and after (postnatal) pregnancy.
We Can Help!
Fortunately, effective treatment is available for depression! Antidepressants have been shown in many studies to improve mood. Patients can also choose from varies types of psychological therapy. You have a right and can choose your preferred modality of treatment when you see our psychiatrist. Remember that you can improve with the right treatment and there is not need to continue to suffer the symptoms of depression.
You deserve wellness, call +65 64796456 now, to make an appointment.