Date
4 December 2016
The incidence rate of depression in Hong Kong is estimated to be about five to 10 percent, which translates to around 350,000 to 700,000 sufferers in the city. Photo: Bloomberg
The incidence rate of depression in Hong Kong is estimated to be about five to 10 percent, which translates to around 350,000 to 700,000 sufferers in the city. Photo: Bloomberg

Depression: Early diagnosis is the key

In the hectic, fast-paced world we live in, it is imperative for city dwellers to find effective ways to relieve the pressures of everyday life.

In the worst case, people can fall victim to serious depression if they endure too much stress for too long and no action is taken to address the problem.

Patients with depression would have persistent low mood, motivation or interest in daily activities, which would directly affect their work efficiency and relationship with others.

If depression is left untreated, the condition would get worse and patients might even develop suicidal thoughts or have other undesirable feelings of harming themselves.

Fortunately, depression can be alleviated by taking medicines, along with undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy.

Depression is very common. The incidence rate of depression in Hong Kong is estimated to be about five to 10 percent, which translates to around 350,000 to 700,000 sufferers in the city.

Depression usually results from multiple causes. People with certain personalities, such as introverts, pessimists or perfectionists, are likely to suffer it.

Pressure from work, family, finances and social life is one of the important contributing factors that induce depression.

Many people think that suffering depression is all about being unhappy, hiding oneself at home and crying all day long.

But it is a wrong assumption and one should not look at the problem in such simple terms.

Here’s a list of symptoms that you should watch out for if you suspect any problem with your friends or family members:

– persistent low mood that lasts two weeks or more
– lack motivation or self-confidence
– reduction or loss of appetite
– weight loss
– insomnia
– failing memory or concentration
– not performing well at work
– not wanting to go to work

If diagnosed with depression, the first and foremost thing to do is to accept treatment and resolve the origin of the problem.

Among other things, doctors may prescribe antidepressants and pills for reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.

Most patients would see some improvement in their condition after two or three weeks of medication.

Combined with other therapies such as counseling, patients can learn new ways of dealing with or even solving their problems, which would help alleviate the depression condition.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 11

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

DY/RC

FHKAM (Psychiatry)

EJI Weekly Newsletter