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Depression

Depression is an affective(mood) disorder in which one feels constantly sad; life seems bleak, and its challenges overwhelming. It is a severely disabling condition that has a profound effect on all aspects of a sufferer’s life, including personal and family life, productivity in the workplace/education and enjoyment of leisure activities. It is one of the most common of all Psychiatric disorders. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability.

Depression is an affective(mood) disorder in which one feels constantly sad; life seems bleak, and its challenges overwhelming. It is a severely disabling
condition that has a profound effect on all aspects of a sufferer’s life, including personal and family life, productivity in the workplace/education and enjoyment of leisure activities. It is one of the most common of all Psychiatric disorders. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to
global disability.


Symptoms of depression; (No two people will have the same symptoms but those below are commonly seen):

  • Depressed mood for at least two weeks.
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment in activities that one used to enjoy.
  • Reduced energy, withdrawal, marked tiredness on slight effort.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Reduced confidence and self-esteem.
  • Feelings of guilt, helplessness or worthlessness.
  • Bleak and pessimistic view of the future(hopelessness).
  • Sleep disturbances; insomnia, early waking or oversleeping.
  • Eating disturbances; loss/increase in appetite, sudden weight gain or loss.
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Emptiness
  • Unexplained physical symptoms ‘Hapa na Hapa’ Syndrome
  • Low libido
  • Thoughts of self-harm, death or suicide


There are no specific blood tests or other  investigations that can be used to diagnose depression. Sometimes it is easier for us to recognize these signs than it is to see in ourselves. Be persistent in encouraging a friend or family member to help identify these signs or depression so as to get outside help as early as possible.
Management of anxiety disorders and depression may include psychotherapy (counselling), pharmacotherapy (medication and a combination of other appropriate evidence-based intervention.
Group counselling involves sharing our experiences with others who have experienced similar situations.

What you can do(Coping strategies):

  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings; Create and maintain a personal support system(family, friends, pastor/priest)
  • Journaling-write down your feelings and what action you would like to take
  • Seek professional help
  • Stay connected with friends and family
  • Exercise regularly(for example walking, cycling, swimming)
  • Stick to healthy balanced diet, rehydration by drinking water and regular rest and sleeping habits
  • Avoid alcohol intake, smoking and illicit drugs
  • Plan to do something good for yourself each day. This includes pleasurable activities like your hobbies, watching movies, grooming, massage
  • Establish healthy boundaries in relationships and reducing the demands placed on yourself by others through assertiveness life skills
  • Attitude of Gratitude- recognize something to be grateful for every day.
  • Spirituality-connection through prayer to a Higher Power of your understanding.
  • Appreciation of beauty for example nature, art, music, children
  • Deep muscle relaxation/breathing exercises
  • Show compassion to others through sharing your time, energy or material resources
  • Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you feel unable to cope alone.
  • If you feel suicidal, contact someone you trust for help, or ring the emergency services.
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