Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 3 News List

One in 10 suffers from depression, experts say

NEGATIVE MEMORIES:If a person suffers from five of the nine major symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, that person should see a doctor, a phychiatrist said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Feeling depressed does not equal depression, but an estimated 10 percent of all adults suffer from depression, a health organization said, advising people to look out for nine symptoms of depression and seek professional help.

According to WHO data, there are approximately 350 million people suffering from depression worldwide, but fewer than half (and in some nations fewer than 10 percent) are getting effective treatment, the John Tung Foundation said.

In order to help people recognize the symptoms of depression and get treatment as soon as possible, the foundation said it has produced a short educational film to help raise public awareness.

John Tung Foundation chief executive Yao Shi-yuan (姚思遠) said from the organization’s 17 years of depression prevention experience, it estimates that one in 10 adults in Taiwan suffers from depression and that one in five adolescents could need professional assistance.

YuNing Psychiatry Clinic director Wu Yu-yu (吳佑佑), a physchiatrist at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said adolescents often suffer more from depressed emotions because they are experiencing hormonal changes during puberty and they often have less control over their environment.

Feeling depressed is not the same as depression, because most people might feel depressed when sad incidents occur, such as the death of loved ones or losing something important, Wu said, adding that usually these emotions are temporary and can be overcome by doing exercise or trying to relax by thinking about other things.

However, depression is linked with abnormalities in the delivery of certain key neurotransmitters (chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain), causing abnormal serotonin levels and leading to a person continuously and involuntarily recalling negative memories, Wu said.

People who suffer from depression should seek professional treatment, even if they have been consoled by family and friends, he added.

The nine major symptoms of depression are low spirit, obvious loss of interest in most or all normal activities, weight gain or loss, excessive sleepiness or insomnia, slowed movement, tiredness and lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, trouble concentrating or making decisions, and frequent or recurrent negative thoughts or suicidal thoughts, he said.

If a person suffers from five of the major symptoms for more than two weeks, the person should see a doctor about their depression, Wu said.

He also urged people to learn correct information and effective resources about depression prevention from Web sites such as that of the John Tung Foundation, and make use of its depression self-assessment test to understand their mental health condition.

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