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Depression is a feeling of severe despondency and dejection.
The Ministry of Health in Malaysia has forecasted that depression will be a major mental health illness suffered by Malaysians by the year 2020.
“According to a research done by the association on the prevalence of depression amongst Malaysians, there has been a 50 percent surge of patients with depression from 2011 to 2015. The National Health and Morbidity Survey indicated that 29% of Malaysians suffer from depression and anxiety, compared to only 12% in the year 2011.”
“The increasing statistics is extremely alarming as it is equivalent to one third of the population.”
I’ve come to realise one thing, we don’t talk enough about mental health illnesses here in Malaysia. Therefore, I thought of getting the ball rollin’ and address the elephant in the room. It’s about time we shed some light onto the issue that is fast becoming a major problem within our community.
Depression is a tricky situation because it is not unusual for us to feel down-in-the-dumps when an upsetting or disappointing event takes place in our lives, such as a break-up or losing a job. It is absolutely normal to go through the motions of sadness, but it’s important to know that those feelings will eventually fade.
However, if you’re noticing that the negativity isn’t leaving, then it could be a telltale sign of onset depression.The National Institute of Mental Health describes a major depressive episode as “a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.” Here are some of the most common symptoms that point to the presence of depression:
Symptoms for Depression
- Unexplained and prolonged feelings of sadness, loneliness and misery that can lasts for weeks.
- Little or no interest in doing things you once loved and enjoyed. All you want to do is nothing.
- Have thoughts such as “you are better of dead”, or you think of hurting yourself.
- Can’t seem to function very well through the day due to poor concentration, which leads to difficulties making plans or decisions.
- Perpetually feeling guilty, bad and unworthy.
- Unexplained aches and pains.
- Withdrawing from people.
- Substance abuse.
- Random anger outbursts.
- Lost of appetite which leads to weight loss.
- Constantly feeling lethargic and exhausted, even when not physically active.
- Disinterested in sex.
- You struggle to fall asleep and end up staying awake for hours on end. (Some individuals may actually sleep a lot more than usual)
- Slowed activity and speech.
- Trouble remembering.
*You will need to exhibit at least five of the above symptoms to be suffering a depressive disorder.
The common misconception of individuals struggling with depression is that they can “snap out of it”. But that is far from the truth. What we need to first realise is depression isn’t “in your head”, “just a phase” or imaginary. Depressive disorder is a serious disorder caused by changes in hormonal levels, chemical imbalance in the brain, hereditary genetics, certain medical conditions, difficult life circumstances, stress and/or grief.
Depression affects one in ten men and one in five women worldwide. It does not discriminate as it can happen to just about anyone.
10 Things You Can Daily To Beat Depression
- Make yourself do something fun, even if you don’t feel like it.
- Reach out or talk to your loved ones – family and friends.
- Soak up the sun – go out and take a stroll during the daytime.
- Counter all negative thoughts.
- List down your accomplishments.
- Write down each ‘joy’ you’ve experienced in the day.
- Go for a swim.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise.
- Cut down on alcohol.
- Start eating healthily. Try to avoid sugar and gluten.
While you can do all of the above to help you manage the disorder, it is very advisable to have the disease diagnosed and treated. Mental health disorders are treated most effectively in their earliest stages when the symptoms are still mild.
And let’s talk about stigma surrounding mental health services. Firstly, stigma is men made. We can do without it and never let it discourage you from seeking help. Just like how you should see a specialist if you have a broken leg, in the same way, it is crucial that you see a professional when dealing with a mental health issue.
Want To Get Help?
If you feel like you are currently suffering from at least 5 or more of the symptoms listed above, and you’re not sure what to do – you can try talking to a licensed psychologist who can help you.
Source: The Malay Mail Online
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