Are you unhappy? Some words on feeling depressed…
Depression is more than feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. More than 300 million people suffer with depression according to the WHO. It is the leading cause for mental
and physical disability. What would you do when you are feeling low in Jakarta? Most people have periods of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel sad for weeks or months. Some people think depression is not a genuine health condition. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or something you can stop by "pulling yourself together". With the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.
How do you know you are depressed?
Depression cause a wide variety of symptoms. Some people have lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have feelings of anxiety. You can have physical symptoms like feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, lack of appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains. The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal. Most people experience feelings of stress, unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
When should you see a doctor?
It's important to seek help from your doctor (read GP) if you think you may be depressed. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.
What are the causes of depression?
Sometimes there's a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job, changing countries or even having a baby, can bring it on. People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience it themselves. But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason.
Everyone can get depressed. If you are not sure about your feelings or if you have any concerns about your low mood, you should talk to your trusted medical practitioner. He or she can address any physical issues and he should be able to recognize true depression.
How to treat…
Treatment for depression can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medication. If you have mild depression, your doctor may suggest watchful waiting. They may also suggest lifestyle measures such as exercise.
Talking therapies are used for mild depression that isn't improving or moderate depression. Antidepressants are also sometimes prescribed. For moderate to severe depression, a combination of talking therapy and antidepressants is often recommended. If you have severe depression, you may be referred to a specialist mental health team for intensive specialist talking treatments and prescribed medication. Start by talking to your GP. He or she should have the skills to diagnose you and to make a management plan for you. Talk about it! If you have a good relationship with a trusted doctor in Jakarta you can find ways to cope with depression. He or she may be able to help you. Please note that there are some good counsellors available in Jakarta. Some are fluent in English (or other languages), a good clinic should be in a position to help you further.
Living with depression
Many people with depression benefit by making lifestyle changes. Reading a self-help book can help you gain a better understanding about what causes you to feel depressed. Sharing your experiences with others in a similar situation can also be very supportive. If you are in doubt or if you want to know more you should try and talk to your doctor. Find a clinic that you are comfortable with to discuss these matters.
Dr Steven Graaff, MD,M RCGP, the founder of Good Practice Clinic is a graduate of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before completing his formal training in General Practice in the UK, he has worked in several hospitals, occupational health and general practice in the Netherlands and the UK. As a medical professional with international experience, Steven decided to start his own clinic – Good Practice, in Jakarta.