SINGAPORE, 21 NOVEMBER 2008 — IN TODAY’S WORLD, depression is ranked as the number two most common health problem, after heart attack. Five out of 100 Singaporeans suffer from clinical depression at least once in their lifetime.
Not surprising, then, that this elective on fighting depression was one of the Asia Conference’s most popular. Helming this session was Dr Ang Yong Guan, an experienced psychiatrist in Singapore.
Dr Ang started the lecture by explaining what depression is, and talking about Bible personalities who suffered from depression, like King David, Job and Elijah as well as some famous political leaders. He also described the different types of depression. For example, Singapore’s fourth President Wee Kim Wee suffered from reactive depression which is caused by stress. American President Abraham Lincoln suffered from endogenous depression, caused by genes passed down by his parents.
Dr Ang mentioned that the chief cause of depression is our mood, that is, negatives thoughts. Late detection also can lead to worsening the state of depression. He also pointed out that many people did not want to seek medical help because of the social stigma associated with depression.
|PHOTOS: Richard Cheng|
In closing, Dr Ang shared seven skills to deal with depression, which form “C.O.N.T.R.O.L”:
1. Controlling stress levels,
2. Opening up to God and to close friends,
3. Neutralizing negative thoughts,
4. Time management,
5. Relaxing and exercising,
6. Overcoming problems and learning from them and
7. Living life according to one’s priorities.
He reminded the audience that ordinary sadness is not clinical depression. Only if our daily lives are affected would we need help to cope with a possible case of clinical depression.