What is Depression?
It’s perfectly normal to feel sad or lonely at times. These are healthy responses to life’s struggles. 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 is 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.
If you find that many of the items on the above list of depression symptoms 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 alleviated by going out to social events and meeting new people.
However, experiencing depression may make you feel helpless to take such action. In the meantime, you can take a few simple steps to alleviate some of your symptoms.
Steps You Can Take
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.
Take a well-rounded approach to depression
When you think of treating depression, you’ll probably think of antidepressants and talk therapy first. Taking a balanced approach that incorporates mind, body and soul helps. Our physician Dr Ivan Lau can help you with expertise involving health management and wellness coaching.
However, clinical depression is difficult to cure by yourself. We recommend that you seek help from professional clinicians.
Promises strives to treat your depression with your goals and values in mind. Our clinicians are skilled in delivering multi-disciplinary approaches to your treatment.
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 Healthcare was the first to bring this technology to Singapore.
It is a non-drug alternative to anti-depressants – which means you don’t have to struggle with the side effects of medication. The treatment requires 20-30 sessions lasting 40 minutes each, where you will remain alert and awake. During each session 3000 magnetic pulses are delivered to the specific area of the brain that regulates moods.
You can hop onto our blog and discover more about this new treatment for depression.
Our Depression Team includes (but not limited to):
Joachim Lee, PBM
MSocSc (Couns), SAC Member & Supervisor, APNA Neurofeedback Therapist, IACT Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, ICBCH Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy Trainer
Get in touch with us
For more information or any enquiries, feel free to contact us now!