Depression – Who is at risk?
| James Kon |
OVER the past five years, it was recorded that more than half of the total number of patients registered with the Psychiatric Department at RIPAS Hospital were diagnosed as suffering from depression. Of that figure, over half of the total number of individuals diagnosed are women.
The statistics were yesterday revealed by Yusri bin Kifli, Clinical Psychology Officer at RIPAS Hospital, in his presentation on risk factors of depression from the social psychology aspect, which he delivered during a mental health forum.
Statistics show that in 2007, there were 302 patients registered with the Psychiatric Department at RIPAS Hospital, and 180 (60 per cent) were diagnosed with depression. In 2008, a total of 504 patients were registered with the department, and 300 individuals suffered from depression, which is 58 per cent. In 2009, a total of 487 persons were registered with the department, with 320 (66 per cent) suffering from depression. In 2010, 356 individuals (63 per cent) were diagnosed with depression of the 564 cases registered.
Yusri later revealed who is at higher risk of suffering depression.
From the analysis, he said, “The average age of depression happens between 20 to 30 years old. It has shown that 50 per cent of patients diagnosed with depression are within the ages of 20 to 50 years old.”
However, he also warned, “Depression can also set in among children (average age of six to 13 years) as well as senior citizens. Depression can often happen among individuals who are without a life partner as compared with individuals who are married.
“The level of education and income can also cause depression, whereby a person with a low qualification and income may have a higher chance of depression. According to research, people who don’t lack a higher educational background have two-times higher a chance of suffering depression.”
Another group of people who are of risk are patients with chronic diseases.
He also highlighted, “Depression is also hereditary. If a family member (mother, father, brother or sister) has depression, you have a two to three times higher chance of getting depression, compared to other people.”
Other high-risk factors include psychosocial depression suffered by victims of abuse or bullying. The victims may have suffered social problems for a long time and it is still in their memory, which can trigger depression. Other incidences include the death of a loved one, being heartbroken, facing financial constraints, failing to find a job, and failing in studies.
“The chances of depression setting in are higher among individuals who do not know how to solve a problem. Individuals who have coping strategies and problem-solving techniques that are accurate and productive will be better able to handle problems, and therefore reduce the risk of depression,” he explained.
In terms of personality, he said, “There is no specific personality that can cause an individual to be depressed, however, there are individuals who have personalities like being over-possessive, over-detailed or over-ambitious, dependent and non-assertive, who may stand a higher chance of suffering depression.”
Individuals who have long-term stress “will also come down with depression, although it is hard to know whether the stress has caused the depression or vice versa.”
Before concluding, the clinical psychology officer noted the importance of a social support group that can provide help and support to individuals who are depressed.