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Depression

Introduction

Depression is sadness. Sadness is a normal emotion when we encounter unhappy events. Depression becomes an illness if it is too severe or too prolonged until it interferes with our abilities to carry out normal daily activities. Depression is quite common. It is estimated about 30% of adult population suffered depression at one time or another in their entire life.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Disturbance of Mood:
    • Persistent sadness more than 2 weeks
  2. Disturbance of cognitive functions
    • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
    • Suicidal thought
    • Loss of enjoyment
    • Loss of concentration
    • Loss of interest
  3. Biological symptoms
    • Loss of appetite
    • Loss of weight
    • Disturbance of sleep
    • Loss of sexual desire (libido)
    • Disturbance of menstruation
    • Easily tired

Complication

Depression makes a person more prone to accidents Depression affects self confidence and lower self esteem. It reduces a person abilities to carry out his duties.

Treatment

Depression can be effectively treated. There are a lot of treatment modalities and a combination of treatment modalities is more effective. A thorough assessment by a doctor is necessary before a diagnosis is made and treatment commence.

  1. Pharmacotherapy:
    • There are many antidepressants available now. These medications help elevate the mood and makes the person more ready to receive other treatment.
  2. Psychological therapy:
    • These include psychotherapy and counseling to make a person understand himself and find better coping skills to handle his stress.
  3. Cognitive therapy:
    • These therapy help to change the way a person thinks and perceives events around him and help him to achieve better understanding the meaning of these events to him and minimize the adverse impact of the events.
  4. Group therapy
    • These involve gathering of a group of people with the same problem i.e depression-sit together to discuss their experiences, difficulties and ways of coping. In this way they will learn from each other and support each other.
  5. Electro-convulsive therapy:
    • This is reserved for those who do not show significant improvement after adequate dose and adequate period of treatment with antidepressant. It is also used when rapid improvement is required for example life threatening situations (depressive stupor where patient refuses to eat or drink) or during post partum period where newborn needed breast milk and nursing from mother and for highly suicidal patient.

Prevention

Stress reduction techniques

Rehabilitation

Every psychiatric department in general hospital have an occupational therapy unit with trained staff to help you recover from your illness. Some health centres are equipped with community psychosocial rehabilitation unit to help you recover from your illness and regain your confidence to work and interact with society.

Support Groups

  • KAMI (Family support group of Johor)
  • MMHA (Malaysian Mental Health Association-PJ)
  • Each state family support group
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Mohd Nasir bin Abd Kadir
Reviewer : Dr. Mohd Ariff Bin Mohd Noor