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Men's Mind - Depression

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Depression
Introduction and Causes
Symptoms and Effects
Prevention
Treatment and Self-help
 
 
 
Introduction and Causes

What is depression?

Depression is a very common mental illness that can affect anyone, men and women. It is more than feeling blue or down for a few days, but a longer-lasting condition associated with significant disablement in daily life.

What causes it?

Some may be triggered by a number of factors, including:

  • Loss of job
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Stress and illness
  • Abuse of drugs and alcohol
  • Some medications such as steroids and hypotensive drugs

On the other hand, it can develop for no apparent reason.

 
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Symptoms and Effects
Do You Know...

Depression has been found to be related to deficiency of some important chemicals in the nervous system. Some types of depression run in families.

What are the common symptoms?

Depression can manifest itself in a range of physical and psychological symptoms. You are suspected of suffering from depression if you have 5 or more of the following symptoms for 2 weeks:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Poor appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts
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Prevention

How can I prevent it?

The best way to prevent your blues from getting out of control is to be alert to the early signs of depression and to seek assistance when necessary.

Who Else Can Help?

Social Welfare Department hotline
Phone: 2343 2255

Hospital Authority Mental Health 24 hours hotline
Phone: 2466 7350

Mental Health Association of Hong Kong hotline
Phone: 2772 0047

The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong 24 hours hotline
Phone: 2896 0000

Suicide Prevention Services (24 hours)
Phone: 2382 0000

Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong - Justone (24 hours)
Phone: 3512 2626

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Treatment and Self-help

What is the treatment?

When depression strikes, simply talking about your feelings can help and seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Most cases of depression can be dealt with by other self-help measures (see How can I help myself).

In severe cases, treatment for depression can include medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy, alone or in combination. The choice of an appropriate treatment is based on the severity of the depression, the extent to which depression affects the patient's life, and the presence of any other medical conditions.

Health Tips

Remember: When you are feeling wretched, don't hold back. Go and try to tell someone how you feel. When feelings of depression are worse than usual and do not seem to get any better, seek medical advice or other professional help.

How can I help myself?

Consult a doctor immediately if you have five or more of symptoms of depression described above. Feeling depressed has nothing to do with being unmanly. It is a very real illness that affects the entire mind and body and treatment can help.

You may also try out a number of self-help measures for mild symptoms:

  • Talk to someone (your partner, a friend or counselor) how you feel.
  • Keep active. Get outdoors or do some exercises.
  • Eat properly. Have a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Dependence on these substances cannot cheer you up but makes you more depressed.
  • Take a break. Get away from your routine for a few days, if you can.
  • Use relaxation techniques. These include exercise, meditation, yoga or massage.

If you do not feel comfortable talking about yourself in front of others or with anyone you know, you can try telephone counseling services which can give you opportunity to discuss things anonymously. Telephone counseling has worked well for many men.

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