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Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder - What it is

​Depression describes a low mood state that is usually experienced when one suffers loss, failure, disappointment or hardship. It can affect a person from any social, cultural or economic background, with onset commonly between 20 to 40 years old. An estimated 5.8% of the Singapore suffers from depression.

Major Depressive Disorder - Symptoms

The key symptoms of depression are pervasive sadness and the inability to experience pleasure. This is often accompanied by feelings of guilt or worthlessness. 
Other symptoms include:
  • Loss of interest or ability to enjoy things
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite
  • Having trouble concentrating, forgetting things
  • Feeling slowed down, lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Major Depressive Disorder - How to prevent?

There is no sure way to prevent depression. However, certain strategies may help:
  • Avoid self-medicating with drugs, alcohol or cigarettes
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep and exercise
  • Learn ways to relax and manage stress levels
  • Set reasonable goals and be realistic about expectations
  • Seek help from friends and family

Major Depressive Disorder - Causes and Risk Factors

​There are many environmental and situational factors that can affect one’s mood. These are commonly related to relationship difficulties, financial problems or work stressors. Research has shown that depression may involve structural, functional and chemical changes in the brain. Depression can also be related to problems that arise during psychological development. Negative patterns of thinking and maladaptive thought processes are often present in depressed individuals.

Major Depressive Disorder - Diagnosis

​Everyone will experience low mood at some point in time. However, when depression is intense, prolonged and debilitating, or it starts to affect social or occupational functioning, it becomes an illness that needs treatment. A psychiatric evaluation can diagnose depression. Laboratory tests may be carried out to rule out physical illnesses that may be causing depression. 

Major Depressive Disorder - Treatments

​Treatment usually involves medications, psychotherapy or a combination of both. Antidepressant medication can help lift the mood and alleviate other symptoms such as poor sleep and appetite. They are safe and generally well tolerated. Psychotherapy aims to address one’s negative thoughts or beliefs. It provides emotional support and enables patients to better understand and deal with their problems. 

Major Depressive Disorder - Preparing for surgery

Major Depressive Disorder - Post-surgery care

Major Depressive Disorder - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth