While it is normal to experience a low mood when faced with disappointments and defeats, this should not last more than a few days, or become so overwhelming that the individual is incapacitated with negative thoughts, said Dr Poon Shi Hui, Associate Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
“If the negative emotions – such as hopelessness and worthlessness – persist and last more than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression,” said Dr Poon.
Depression, she added, is a mental illness that requires not only professional help but also support from family and friends. Asking someone who is suffering from depression to “snap out of it” or “don’t think so much” about the unhappy things in their lives is easier said than done, said Dr Poon. “Well, the truth is, as much as they wish to, they are unable to,” she said.
Depression signs and symptoms include losing interest in daily activities, losing sleep or sleeping excessively, feeling tired nearly every day and more.
Here are seven ways to help someone with depression
1. Don’t treat depression symptoms lightly, but offer support and encouragement.2. Don’t judge, but lend a listening ear. 3. Encourage exercise to boost “feel good” hormone levels.4. Help establish a routine of activities to keep busy and improve sleep.5. Keep a close watch on their safety and of those around them.6. Encourage them to seek professional help if feelings of sadness persist and if they appear to have suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts.
Read on to find out the available treatments for depression.
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