Anxiety and insomnia on the rise as people fret over Taiwan’s future: doctors 擔心台灣未來 焦慮失眠比率升

Tue, Apr 15, 2014 - Page 11

As of late the public has been fixated on the anti-service trade pact movement. A significant number of people have been seeing doctors for psychological issues caused by anxiety and insomnia triggered by concern for various social factors, including Taiwan’s future and the student movement.

Hung Chi-wei, an attending physician at Chi Mei Hospital’s family medicine department, says that he has recently treated a spate of clinical cases like this. Some of the patients, originally quite fond of exercising, suddenly became sluggish for reasons unknown and only wanted to lounge around the house, never going out anywhere else. Even if some of them have wanted to see a doctor, they did not know which department to make an appointment with.

Hung says that family physicians often come across this type of patient, who consults a family doctor first because they do not know which type of specialist to see, as they have so many symptoms at the same time. There has been a slight rise in the number of patients visiting psychiatry departments in recent years, Hung says, adding that some of them complain about Taiwan’s stagnant economy, rising prices or how hard it is to make a living. The right amount of stress can easily give rise to mental disorders such as generalized anxiety or depression, Hung says.

Most patients with generalized anxiety disorder tend to be unaware that they have the disorder because the symptoms tend to fluctuate. When stress levels increase in everyday life or at work it typically exacerbates the patient’s condition. Common symptoms include muscle tension, an overly excited autonomic nervous system, feeling keyed up and on edge, sometimes having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and feeling irritable. The symptoms for depression include feeling dejected and losing interest in things.

Regardless of whether it is generalized anxiety disorder or depression, Hung says that as soon as you discover possibly having one of the two disorders, you should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)