What is Depression?
Most people will feel sad, lonely, or depressed at times. It’s a normal reaction to life’s struggles, injured self-esteem or loss etc. However, sometimes the feelings of hopelessness and despair can become overwhelming.
Such feelings may seriously disrupt a person’s ability to function normally, and last for long periods of time (e.g. weeks to months).
In such cases, these symptoms may point towards clinical depression.
10 Depression Symptoms
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities
You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes
Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
Anger or irritability
Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy
Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
You engage in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains
An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
An estimated 5.8% of the Singaporean population are affected by depression. Major depressive disorder (“depression”) is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. A high percentage of people with depression symptoms die by suicide.
The symptoms of depression differ between person to person and vary with age, gender and background. However, there are some common themes.
Listed below are some of the more frequently experienced symptoms of depression. If you find many of the items on this list apply to you, this may indicate that you are suffering from depression.
Deciding on how to treat depression depends on its cause – Understanding the underlying cause of your depression may help you overcome the problem.
Depression which is caused by personal circumstances can be best treated by changing those circumstances.
For example, if your depression is caused by a toxic work environment, seeking a new workplace or career may be the best treatment. Depression caused by loneliness can be cured by going out to social events and meeting new people.
However, experiencing depression may make you feel helpless to take such actions. Thus, a few simple steps can be taken to help alleviate some of the symptoms:
How to Deal with Depression
Take regular exercise
Even simple activities such as taking a short walk can help. By starting with small actions and building up, you can improve your depression symptoms.
Reach out to other people
Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or don’t want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you. He or she just needs to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.
Eat a healthy diet
Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
However, in most cases it is difficult to cure clinical depression by yourself. It is recommended that you seek help from professional clinicians.
In this regard, Promises would be more than happy to help you in your recovery.
Psychiatry and Therapy
In cases of clinical depression, seeing a psychiatrist to obtain anti-depressant medication can be a good first step. However, keep in mind that such treatment should not be seen as a long-term solution – addressing the underlying causes of depression is a better goal.
Psychotherapy can assist with this. We at Promises believe in taking a multi-disciplinary approach towards depression treatment, where our psychiatrists and counsellors work towards good recovery.
New Depression Treatments
Some individuals may not respond well to anti-depressants as everyone has a different genetic make-up. For this, Promises has an alternative non-drug treatment in the form of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS treatment), or repetitive magnetic brain stimulation (also called TMS). Promises is the pioneer in providing rTMS treatment in Singapore.
It is a non-drug alternative to anti-depressants and an Electroconvulsive Therapy without any of the side effects. The treatment requires 20-30 sessions lasting 40 minutes each. During each session 3000 magnetic pulses are delivered to the specific area of the brain that regulates moods.
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