Monday, October 3, 2011

understanding depression

Understanding depression

We all feel sad from time to time. But when this sadness never seems to fade away, it might be a symptom of depression. Knowing how to spot depression can help protect you and your loved ones. With early detection, you can beat the blues.

What is depression?
Depression is more than feeling down or being sad. Depression may affect your work, interest in activities and quality of life. It is not a sign of weakness and it does not just 'go away'. Depression can happen to anyone.

Depression is a medical condition that affects how you think and behave, and the way you feel and function. It is one of the most common mental health problems and is faced by over 121 million people worldwide. In Singapore, an estimated 5.6 per cent of the population are affected by depression during their lifetime.

» Learn more about myths and common misconceptions about depression

How to recognise depression
Depression is different from normal sadness as it interferes with your day-to-day life making it hard for you to work, rest and have fun. People with depression experience five (5) or more of the following symptoms almost every day, for two weeks or longer:

Persistent sadness or emptiness
Loss of interest in all or almost all activities
Decrease or increase in appetite; unintentional weight loss or gain
Difficulty in sleeping or sleeping excessively
Restlessness or feeling agitated
Fatigue and lacking in energy
Difficulty concentrating or having trouble thinking and making decisions
Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
» Take our quiz to find out if you may be experiencing symptoms of depression

Risk factors for depression
Challenging life events can increase your risk of depression especially when you find it difficult to cope with them. Some of the life stressors that can increase the risk of depression may include:

Relationship problems
Financial difficulties
Physical illnesses
Unemployment
Lack of support
Loss of a loved one

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