Depression, Bipolar & Grief
Feeling sad at times is a common experience in our life. We all have felt depressed or “down” due to relationship and/or work/school-related stresses. At times, we just feel sad for no specific reason.
It becomes an illness - Depression (i.e. Major Depressive Disorder) when there are significant symptoms which lead to significant impairment in our normal daily functioning ability.
- Depressed mood is severe
- Lasts for a significant period of time
- Having thoughts of suicide
- Having insomnia and etc.
In child/adolescent, depression may present as aggression, irritable mood or school refusal.
In Singapore, at least 5.8% of the population will have depression in their lifetime. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 350 million people of all ages (children, adolescents, adults and the elderly) suffer from depression.
Multiple factors contribute to depression. These include genetics, stress, personality, medical conditions, biochemical changes in the brain and etc.
Many people are worried about seeking help for depression. They are worried about being stigmatized by their illness or being labelled as having a “weak” character.
Without treatment, depression continues to severely affect the person’s ability to work, to enjoy life or to spend meaningful time with one’s loved ones. In severe cases, suicide can occur too.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments for depression:
- Psychological therapy (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), relaxation therapy, mindfulness-therapy and etc).
- Various effective medications (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), noradrenergic reuptake inhibitors, melatonergic antidepressant and etc) to normalize the brain’s biochemical changes, leading to resolvement of those symptoms.
- Lifestyle modifications
(B) Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Disorder)
During our life, we will have days that we feel very happy and on some other days that we feel sad. These are normal mood variations.
- Feeling excessively “high”/elated
- Abnormally irritable
- Racing thoughts
- Excessive energy
- Grand plans/ideas and etc.
Many people are worried about seeking help for bipolar disorder. They are worried about being stigmatized by their illness. Some people may even enjoy being in the manic/ “high” state and thus refuse treatment.
- Wide range of effective mood-stabilizing medications which serve to balance up the brain’s neurochemistry to normalize the patient’s mood dysregulation.
- Lifestyle modifications to ensure a healthy and structured lifestyle which minimizes potential triggers of the illness.