May 13

You feel drained for a long time, can’t really enjoy everyday life or retreat from others? If you are in such a state for more than two weeks, you probably belong to the millions of people suffering from depression.

Unfortunately, due to its usually slow development and out of feelings of shame, it often takes long and valuable time until affected persons look for assistance – so quite frequently, sequelae such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, sexual disorders, psychosomatic diseases or alcohol abuse start to cause additional burden, and the body becomes more sensitive to pain and infections.
Depression is usually caused by a combination of genetic predisposition, triggering environmental conditions and previous personal impacts.

However, the feelings of dejection and hopelessness can be treated: as a psychotherapist, I am pleased whenever people tell me how surprised they are over how much better they feel after just a few counseling sessions. What’s striking about depression is that prospects for an improvement are hardly noticeable for sufferers anymore – even if these prospects would wait ’round the corner’. Often enough it takes a good friend who encourages to seek help.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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