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On alert against depression
(Shenzhen Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-08 09:29

Some psychologists in Shenzhen have warned that depression is affecting more people in the city and that the public should be aware of symptoms of the mental disease.

Many urban professionals carring heavy workload suffer from depression, a common metropolis symptom. [file photo]
An estimated 350,000 residents are suffering from depression and the number was likely to increase with mounting pressures from work and personal lives, said experts.

Lin Xiongbiao, chief of the psychological consultation department of Kangning Hospital, said Tuesday the widespread illness was ignored or unknown to most of the public.

"Psychological problems are often ignored when people have physical discomforts, such as headache, insomnia and stomach ache. So they should be alert that they might be suffering from depression."

He warned that people should be especially alert to prolonged, deep feelings of sadness or of feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless.

He said patients often tended to seek medical help late because they considered symptoms such as these to be personality defects. They also felt ashamed and refused to admit that they had psychological problems.

The majority of people suffering from depression are white-collar workers, and the average age is below 30, according to a survey by Kangning Hospital.

"Among depression sufferers, 40 percent of them had thought about committing suicide. If they delay treatment, it might be very dangerous," Lin said.

People should pay more attention to the elderly, because many of them frequently deny any metal disease, said Yu Changhong, doctor in charge of the inpatient ward of Kangning Hospital.

"They feel ashamed to ask for psychological consultations and think they only had back or limb pains," said Yu. "I hope relatives of the elderly watch their behavior more closely and communicate with them frequently, if possible."

Yu said depression could be treated through a combination of medical and psychological means. "It¡¯s critical that the earlier you come to seek treatment, the earlier you will recover."

How to detect depression

There are two kinds of depression: the "sad" type called major depression, and manic-depression, or bipolar disorder, in which the sufferer alternates between extreme moods of elation and depression.

You should get evaluated by a professional if you¡¯ve had five or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks or if any of these symptoms cause a major change in your normal routine.

When you're depressed...

¡¤You feel sad or cry a lot and the feeling doesn't go away.

¡¤You feel guilty for no reason; you feel as if you¡¯re no good and you¡¯ve lost your confidence.

¡¤Life seems meaningless or like nothing good is ever going to happen again. You have a negative attitude a lot of the time, or it seems as if you have no feelings.

¡¤You don¡¯t feel like doing a lot of the things you used to like ¡ª like enjoying music, sports, being with friends, going out ¡ª and you want to be left alone.

¡¤It¡¯s hard to make up your mind. You forget lots of things, and it¡¯s hard to concentrate.

¡¤You get irritated often. Little things make you lose your temper; you overreact.

¡¤Your sleep pattern changes; you start sleeping a lot more or you have trouble falling asleep at night. Or you wake up very early most mornings and can¡¯t go back to sleep.

¡¤Your eating pattern changes; you¡¯ve lost your appetite or you eat a lot more.

¡¤You feel restless and tired most of the time.

¡¤You think about death, or feel like you¡¯re dying, or have thoughts about committing suicide.

You may be manic if...

You feel high as a kite, as if you're "on top of the world."

You get unreal ideas about the great things you can do, things that you really can¡¯t do.

Thoughts race through your head, you jump from one subject to another and you talk a lot.

You're a nonstop party, constantly running around.

You do too many wild or risky things like driving recklessly, spending money uncontrollably, casual sex, among other things.

You're so "up" that you don't need much sleep.

You¡¯re rebellious or irritable and can't get along at home or school, or with your friends.

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