Talk zeroes in on depression
| James Kon |
It IS estimated that 10 per cent of the community in general suffers from depression. In fact, the percentage could be even higher with many sufferers not coming forward for treatment.
This was yesterday pointed out by Dr Hilda Ho, Psychiatric Consultant at the Department of Psychiatric at RIPAS Hospital, as she delivered a presentation on ‘Depression: Methods of Identification and Diagnosing’ at a Mental Health Forum.
Dr Hilda Ho continued, “The rate of depression is even higher among people who have physical diseases like chronic disease. A diabetes patient has a 10 to 25 per cent higher chance of suffering depression, while a stroke patient has a 20 to 50 per cent chance. A cancer patient has a higher 20 to 40 per cent chance of suffering from depression, and heart attack patients have 15 to 20 per cent.
Some of the risk factors of depression include women who have three or more kids and children under the age of five; individuals who stay alone; individuals who have financial problems; individuals without a job; and individuals who don’t have a proper place to stay.
Other people at high risk include victims of abuse like domestic violence, sexual abuse, physical abuse; experience of childhood abuse; history of depression in the family; serious chronic diseases; as well as serious surgeries that results in dysfunction or loss of a limb.
Meanwhile, high risk factors of depression setting in among children include physical or sexual abuse and neglect; problems within the family; having a family member who is seriously ill, diagnosed with a serious or chronic disease; those residing in unstable home; problem in studies like low IQ, autism, dyslexia, learning disability.
Before treatment, she highlighted, “Many of the patients who are depressed are treated as outpatients, while only a small number is admitted to the ward.”
The medicinal treatment, she explained, comprise of anti-depressants like Prozac, Sertraline and Fluvoxamine, which are safe to consume. The treatment must be long-term and the medicine can be used to repair the neurotransmitter level of balance and receptor inside the brain.
Meanwhile, for psychology or counselling treatment, it employs therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, psycho education, supportive psychotherapy and martial counselling.
In terms of education, she explained, “All professionals who provide mental health services must give an in-depth explanation to patients’ and families on the patient’s disease, the method to overcome the disease, risk of treatment, the need of treatment as well as ways to prevent the disease from escalating.”
“Social treatment compromises of assistance in terms of housing and financial, assistance for daily necessities, as well as application for allowance from JAPEM and support from family’s advise.”
“Only serious cases of depressed patients will need to be admitted. Patients who are admitted may be trying to hurt themselves or others, or is non-responsive (Psychomotor Retardation) or does not talk… The patient may not eat or drink until its causes serious weight lost, and the patient experiences psychotic disturbances like hallucination or delusion,” she told.
To prevent depression or reduce the risk, “individuals should practice a healthy lifestyle, have good financial management and good family management, avoid drug misuse, have a balance lifestyle, and receive early treatment if there is mental stress,” she explained.