Friday, 22 December 2017

How to tell if someone has depression

The suicide death of SHINee lead singer Kim Jonghyun on Monday (Dec 18) has cast the spotlight on the pressure K-pop artistes face. But it has also brought depression, clinically known as major depressive disorder, to the fore.

In Singapore, depression is one of the top three mental health disorders, indicated the National Mental Health Survey conducted in 2010 by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Besides persistently feeling sad or gloomy, there are other common symptoms of depression to look out for, said Dr Wang. These include a loss in the following areas: Interest in activities previously enjoyed, appetite, weight, sleep (or on the contrary, sleeping more).

Other signs include a sense of restlessness, ease of agitation, tiredness, an inability to concentrate, indecisiveness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt as well as recurrent thoughts of death. If a person experiences five or more of those symptoms for two weeks or longer, he is likely to be depressed, according to IMH.

"However, for some people, the symptoms may be hidden," said Dr Adrian Wang, consultant psychiatrist from Gleneagles Medical Centre. Like Jonghyun, these individuals may appear fine but may feel despondent or even suicidal.

"They may be putting up a brave front because they do not want others to worry about them, or may feel ashamed of their sad feelings which they (wrongly) think of as a sign of weakness," said Dr Wang.

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You may want to read K-pop star Jonghyun says depression ‘engulfed me’ in suicide note

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