Rita Goh Blog
Depress? There is help   
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Verdict is Out!
The verdict is in on the Singaporean couple accused of trying to kill their two young daughters by force feeding them 120 sleeping pills each on March 11 last year. The father has been found guilty in a Sydney court and faces up to 25 years in jail. The mother is cleared because she was mentally ill.

The husband and wife claimed they were so depressed they did not know their actions were wrong.

The couple had second thoughts and called for help when one of the girls suffered fits after taking the pills. The children, now recovered, returned to Singapore to live with their grandparents.

In passing the verdict, Judge Graham Armitage said he was convinced the girls' father, 35, had "the capacity to reason and understand the nature of his action" despite suffering from a mental illness.

The judge, however, cleared his wife, 36, of any wrongdoing, adding that her mental illness had clouded her judgment.

Wonder what will be the outcome of the verdict had they been tried in Singapore?
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:28 AM   0 comments  
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Depression or Joy? The Choice is Yours
Do you see other people having a great time and you start wondering why it is so much easier for you to fall into depression.

Why is it so difficult to stay happy? Why do these periods of joy disappear so quickly and why do these times of depression last so long?

You know why? Because you are thinking about it. You are focusing on it. Did you know that our brain releases chemicals in our blood that support our moods? Well, that is exactly what is happening!

You attract whatever it is that you focus on. In other words by thinking about the things that make you feel depressed, you make yourself more depressed.

The reversed is just as true. If you would spend as much time thinking about pleasant things as that you spend thinking about depressive things, guess what you would attract in your life? Exactly! You would attract Joy!
posted by Rita Goh @ 7:21 PM   0 comments  
Monday, December 11, 2006
Depression and Andropause
Andropause correlates directly with depression – a major player in the notorious mid-life crisis period men face in their late 40´s to late 50´s.

There are a wide variety of symptoms and conditions hormone-wrecked men experience during this mid-life transition – everything from the mental (i.e. irritability) to the physical (loss of libido, lack of energy, and weight gain.) Depression, left untreated, can be a disabling condition.

Andropause depression is due to dropping levels of testosterone. Low testosterone levels cause many depressive symptoms – among them, a general indifference to events surrounding you, the inability to concentrate, extreme irritability, and memory loss.

We might stress over things that might otherwise be worry-free in a normal situation and brood over certain matters. Our memory might go down the drain and we begin to see our lives in a negative light.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:15 PM   0 comments  
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Why Some Do Not Respond to Medications
My friend Jennifer has been feeling depressed for at least two and a half years. About three years ago, her husband of 20 years left her for another woman. Eventually, she sank into depression.

Jennifer seems to be taking the medications regularly. But why is she not responding to her antidepressants?

There are many reasons why depressed patients like Jennifer do not improve on antidepressants.

First, is the diagnosis correct?
Depression can be caused by many clinical entities. Sometimes, knowing the right diagnosis is a challenge. If your doctor fails to identify and treat the true cause of your depression, you will remain depressed despite the use of antidepressant.

Second, are there co-morbid disorders?
Depression can exist along with other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorder, personality disorder, dementia, and psychosis. Depression will persist if these co-morbid disorders are not treated. For instance, depressive disorder with psychosis cannot be adequately treated just with antidepressant alone. You need an antipsychotic drug added to an antidepressant to treat the illness.

Third, are there ongoing psychosocial issues?
Financial problems, family conflict, work-related stress could all precipitate and complicate depression. Despite adequate medication treatment, some individuals will remain depressed especially if such problems are not addressed by the therapist or psychiatrist.

The treatment of depression is frequently straightforward. Occasionally however, various factors complicate it. For antidepressant to be effective, a psychiatrist should ensure that the diagnosis is correct, that co-morbid psychiatric disorders and that psychosocial issues are adequately addressed.
posted by Rita Goh @ 9:17 PM   0 comments  
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Depression and Music
There’s an old adage about how “music sooths the savage beast.” Not only is this true, it is actually an understatement. Music plays such a profound part of our lives, that we will barely scratch the surface here, but let’s give it an overview.

All of us grew up with certain songs or instrumentals that strike a chord that reverberates through our entire being. For example, when I hear “My Way,” it immediately carries me back to the seventies when I was a teenager. Back then, I spent lots of time in the swimming pool as I was in competitive swimming. The experience is so profound that I can remember the feel of the water on my face, the smell of chlorinated water and the loud voice of my coach.

There is a theory that certain notes or chords resonate with a vibration that is particularly harmonious to specific people. Have you ever heard a song that gave you “goose bumps?” If so, then you give validation to this theory. When this occurs, the music has a profound affect on the subconscious. Add intense emotion to the equation and you have one powerful, indelible, blueprint on your subconscious that will follow you the rest of your life.

For example, let’s say that you receive news of the death of a loved one while a specific piece of music is playing on the radio. That particular music may have a lasting impression. Years later, for no apparent reason, you may find yourself immediately thrown into a state of depression upon hearing that same tune. The same can be true of “positive” feelings as described in the story above.

Just for fun, the next time you find yourself hearing a song, try and remember when, where and under what circumstances you heard it for the very first time. The exercise will probably help you to better understand how past events have shaped your musical preferences. And, I’ll wager that the next time you hear “My Way,” you will remember reading this article.

Happy Listening!
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:35 PM   0 comments  
Friday, December 08, 2006
Depression and Creative Writing
One of the best ways of coping with depression is to enroll in a creative writing course. Not an obvious way of coping, it must be said, but one that can produce amazing results.

The reason these courses are so successful lies in the fact that people who attend them have to think about matters other than their problems for a couple of hours.

The courses cover story writing, poetry, stage, screen and radio plays plus the outlines of writing a novel.

Topics include characterization, plot, dialogue plus a host of other subjects. Each and every one can offer countless ways whereby people are able to release their innermost thoughts, desires and anxieties, so relieving considerable tension.

Creative writing courses really do expand the mind and leave it open to new experiences which are of tremendous benefit to anyone suffering from low self-esteem.

Writing, by its very nature, depends on self-expression which often helps people to understand feelings which may have been suppressed for years.

In a nutshell, minds become focused on looking outwards, rather than inwards, when involved in the process of writing. In accomplishing such an achievement creative writing must count as one of the best treatments in helping people to overcome depression. Enroll on that course today! You will find it can "literally" change your life.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:56 PM   0 comments  
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Good medicine for the Mind
Here's a painless way to chase the blues away. No pills, no payment.
Proven to speed up recovery of illness.
It can lift you out of depression.
Overexpose yourself to laugh.
Watch funny video such as http://funniestube.blogspot.com/
A laugh a day keeps the psychiatrist away.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:54 PM   0 comments  
Introduction to Manic Depression
Manic Depression is also known as Bipolar Illness.

Like depression, people with this disorder go through stages of depression, but Mania or Manic adds a cycle.

Mania is a very "up" mood, over elated, over happy. Too much of anything is no good, and because of these cycles, people experiencing Manic Depression visit the two extremes of depression and elation.

Sure, sounds great to be able to be really happy and energetic all the time. However, with the elated mood, the sufferer will often talk rapidly, and become disjointed.

There are three types of cycles that people may go through during mania. These are Rapid Cycle, Ultra-Rapid cycle and Ultradian cycles. All of these show how many episodes of mania the person goes through a year.

Rapid Cycles are most common, and this means 3 or 4 cycles of mania per year.

Ultra Rapid Cycles mean that the person goes through episodes that are shorter than a week, a bit more often.

Ultradian cyclers go through distinct, dramatic mood changes within a 24-hour block.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:05 PM   0 comments  
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tips for Caregivers
Living with someone who experiences depression is not easy. When they are struggling it can often be hard to know what to do and say. It is not uncommon to have feelings of anger, guilt or fear and feel overwhelmed from time to time.

As a family member or friend of someone who is experiencing depression it is important that you look after yourself.

Learn about depression - Having an idea about how someone is affected by depression may help you to understand why they behave the way they do. This may help you separate the illness from the person and realize that the person's mood or behavior may not be directed at you personally.

Put yourself first occasionally - This can be hard and you may find that you feel guilty when you do something for yourself. This is important however. Making time to do things that you enjoy is important part of looking after yourself and your family member.

Take time out - Having time away from your family member can also be important and allow you to relax. Try to spend some time doing what you enjoy. You may want to play sport, hang out with friends, listen to music or go for a walk.

Talk about what they find helpful - Make conversations about depression easy and open. Try asking about what helps them when they are feeling depressed. By talking openly, you are letting the person know about your love and support for them. You may like to talk about what you have read and ask how they feel about it.

Join support groups - If you are living or caring for someone who is experiencing depression you may sometimes feel you are different or alone. Friends may not understand what it is like for you. Talking to people who are in a similar situation may be helpful. Join support groups where you can find like minded people.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:50 PM   0 comments  
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Caregivers' needs
A diagnosis of depression can mean hardships not only for the ill person, but also for his or her family. Because so many people are afraid or uninformed about the illness, many families try to hide it from others and deal with it on their own.

If someone in your family has depression, you, too, need understanding, love and support from others. You may need to learn and accept that no one causes depression, just as no one causes diabetes, cancer or heart disease. You are not to blame – and you are not alone.

To deal with depression in the family, one of the most important steps you can take is to join a support group. Members of these groups share information and ideas about everything from coping with symptoms to finding financial, medical, and other resources.

Families who deal most successfully with a relative who has depression are those that come to accept the illness and its difficulties, are realistic about what they expect of the ill person and of themselves, and even keep a sense of humor.

Depression causes many problems, but it does not have to destroy you or your family. To deal with it best, it’s very important to take care of yourself and to continue doing things you enjoy. You cannot let the illness take over your life. Try to help the ill person live the best life he or she can today, and do the same for yourself.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:24 PM   0 comments  
Monday, December 04, 2006
Vitamins Helpful for Depression
Below is a list of vitamins that can be very beneficial for people suffering from depression.

* Vitamin B1 (thiamine): The brain uses this vitamin to help convert glucose into fuel, and without it the brain rapidly runs out of energy. This can lead to fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide.

* Vitamin B3 (niacin): Pellagra-which produces psychosis and dementia, among other symptoms-was eventually found to be caused by niacin deficiency.

* Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Vitamin B5 is needed for hormone formation and the uptake of amino acids and the brain chemical acetylcholine, which combine to prevent certain types of depression.

* Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Aids in the processing of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins and certain hormones. It's necessary in the manufacture of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.

* Vitamin B12: Because vitamin B12 is important to red blood cell formation, deficiency leads to an oxygen-transport problem known as pernicious anemia. This disorder can cause a variety of depression related symptoms including mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations and mania.

* Vitamin C: Subclinical deficiencies of this vitamin can produce depression, which requires the use of supplements.

However, it is always best to discuss the addition of any vitamins to your diet with your doctor. Some vitamins may have an adverse reaction with certain medications whiich is why it's imperative to discuss the matter with your doctor.
posted by Rita Goh @ 6:45 PM   0 comments  
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Depression Management
Managing depression includes the following:

* Staying active is one way to take one’s mind off depression. Primarily, activities help distract people from whatever it is that is causing their depression.

* It is also important to stay relaxed. Relaxation techniques can help one be more attuned to the self and be more at peace.

* Depressed people should also express their emotions. Depression usually results from suppressed emotions.

* Hang around with friends and loved ones. Depressed individuals need support very much.

* Lastly, it is important to believe in oneself. A lot of people get depressed because they put themselves down.

Depression management is possible and entails taking charge of one’s self. When dealing with depression however, it is important not to rush. Sadness does not disappear overnight; it takes time to get back on one’s feet. Little by little, one can get out of depression and have a normal life once more.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:05 PM   0 comments  
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Depression and Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the treatment that employs talking as the primary function. During psychotherapy there is minimal usage of medicines.

Psychotherapy can be Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy. The most widely used therapeutic strategy is the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emphasizes on discussing the negative thoughts and the behaviors that leads to them. This kind of therapy focuses on reconstructing the thoughts, by helping the patients discover reasons, intuitions, and perceptions, thus teaching them to use this discovery to manage their lives while thinking more positively.

Interpersonal Therapy is a short-duration treatment for depression related disorders. The main concern of this kind of treatment is usually on the individual’s social and other relationships.

This therapy helps to improve the inter-relational skills, communication, emotion expression, dealing with situations in social circles, etc.

Although not much research has been done on psychotherapy, therapists use it worldwide as the first step for treating depression and related troubles.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:55 PM   0 comments  
Friday, December 01, 2006
House Calls by IMH Team to Treat the Elderly
It was reported today in the Straits Times that a home service by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has been started for elderly patients with mental illnesses. It is catered to those who were not being treated because they could not or did not want to go to hospital.

Dr Joshua Kua, a consultant psychiatrist with IMH was the one who mooted the programme. He noticed that some elderly patients stopped visiting IMH for treatment when they developed walking problems, for example, after suffering a stroke.

Others seen by IMH’s visiting consultants while recovering from other illnesses in community hospitals often would not turn up for follow-up treatment.

Some others refused to leave home to seek treatment because their mental illness had made them afraid to go out, or they were too frightened or ashamed to go to IMH.

The service, which involves regular house calls by a team of mental health professionals, also aims to help caregivers by teaching them how to take care of their charges as well as their own mental health.
posted by Rita Goh @ 10:23 PM   0 comments  
Upcoming Talk

Dr Rita Goh
Author of 'Back from the Brink of Insanity'

Title: How I Triumphed Over Schizophrenia and Depression

27th January 2007
Queenstown Community Library @ 2.30pm
Dr Goh has been featured on MediaCorp Television and in the Straits Times.
posted by Rita Goh @ 2:29 PM   0 comments  
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