Depression Counselling Service: Book an Appointment

Depression is more common than one might think –  over 264 million people suffer from this illness. Within Singapore itself, the most prevalent mental disorder is major depressive disorder (MDD), which can very negatively impact one’s life and can even prove to be fatal in cases where it leads to suicide. According to the Singapore Mental Health Study conducted in 2016, 6.3% of the adult population in Singapore suffer from MDD at some point in their lifetime. 

Feeling down in the dumps after an upsetting encounter is a normal part of life – it is completely okay to feel sad sometimes. However, feeling sad and crying excessively for most parts of your day, almost everyday can be a sign of depression. Many people often get confused as it may be difficult to differentiate between normal sadness and depression. You may refer to the list below for some of the common signs and symptoms of depression. If you or someone you know displays all or most of the listed symptoms, consult a mental health professional as soon as you can. Book an appointment with us for either an online or in-person counselling session. 

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Some of the major signs and symptoms of depression include: 

  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless or appears tearful
  • Feeling worthless or excessively or inappropriately guilty
  • Significantly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities (including those that were once pleasurable)
  • Significant changes in weight or appetite
  • Sleep disturbances including insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or hypersomnia (sleeping excessively)
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate or make decisions
  • Persisting body aches, pain, cramps, headache or digestive problems
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for commiting suicide

Causes and Risk Factors

There are several causes of depression and risk factors that may increase the likelihood of you having depression. Common factors and causes include:

1. Genetics and family history : You’re at a high risk of depression if someone in your family has depression. It is known to be linked with many genes as well, however strong linkages haven’t been identified yet.

2. Gender: Women are more likely to report and seek treatment for depression than men. Women also tend to be more susceptible to depression due to hormonal changes especially during pregnancy and after childbirth.

3. Lack of social support: Having a weak support system with few supportive relationships and being socially isolated with minimal social interactions can increase the likelihood of depression or even worsen its impacts.

4. Major life changes: Experiencing sudden and significant changes in life can be very stressful. Coping with the loss of a loved one, divorce, losing a job or getting a new one, having a baby, and many other life events – both positive and negative – can increase the risk of depression. 

5. Childhood trauma: Experiencing traumatic events during childhood, such as domestic violence, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, grief or medical trauma. 

6. Medical Conditions: The pain and stress that comes with certain medical conditions such as cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart diseases can negatively impact one’s mental state and increase the likelihood of depression.

7. Drug use: A history of drug and/or alcohol abuse or misuse.

How Depression Counselling Works

Psychotherapy and depression counselling can be an effective treatment for depression. It can help you discover and understand the issues that you are facing and tackle them properly. It can also be an opportunity for you to learn new skills and techniques that can help handle your emotions and problems better by developing new healthy coping mechanisms. 

Psychotherapy and depression counselling can also help you develop better relationships by understanding your existing relationship patterns. This can help reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness. By learning to set healthy boundaries in relationships and other forms of interactions, you can slowly heal and grow and reintegrate into society.

At Incontact, our counsellors will help you work through your negative thoughts and empower changes in your behavioural and cognitive patterns to help you manage your symptoms better. We adopt an eclectic and humanistic approach in depression counselling for all our clients. This involves the use of eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy.

Talking to our therapists can help you manage life’s adversities better as you learn positive and healthy ways to overcome them.

Tips For Depression Treatment In Singapore

Here are some tips for people taking up treatment for depression: 

  • Be honest with your therapist. Opening up to a mental health professional can be difficult, but it is important to be honest with your therapist. The more honest and receptive you are, the more effective the session will be. Try your best to share all of your concerns with your therapist.  If you have any doubts about your therapist’s approach, let them know. Feedback always helps. 
  • Be open to new ideas. Do not be quick to reject your therapist’s suggestions. You may feel uncomfortable, and the therapist may try to push you out of your comfort zone, but stay open to it. You may find their suggestions helpful.
  • Supplement your treatment with lifestyle changes. Even the smallest things count. Eating healthier foods may help. As you slowly build on these healthy habits, it may increase the effectiveness of your current treatment. Avoid drinking alcohol or illicit drugs as they may worsen your condition. Try to fix a bedtime and a waking time. A good way to do this is to have a bedtime routine (something that helps your mind and body calm down) and a morning routine (something that helps you ease into the day). Add more structure to your day and follow a flexible routine. Try getting some physical activity in as it releases good endorphins. 
  • Take medications as prescribed. If medication is prescribed, taking them regularly should be made a part of your routine. Make it a habit and you won’t forget what to take, and when you have to take them.       
  • Do not give up. Treatment for most mental health issues takes time; it does not work right away. You may only start to see noticeable differences after months of treatment. Medication may also take some time to work, usually between four to six weeks. Being patient and gentle with yourself and the treatment is always important.

Frequently Asked Questions about Depression

Q. How is depression diagnosed?

A. If you think you have depression, you should visit a doctor for a medical evaluation. A doctor will be able to rule out the possibilities of other medical illnesses or disorders and refer you to a psychologist Once diagnosed, you can book an appointment with one of our experienced professionals for a depression counselling plan.

Q. How can I prevent another depressive episode (or depression)?

A. Depression is not always considered preventable. However, you can develop a few lifestyle changes that are also discussed in therapy and counselling. These changes help in decreasing and at times eliminate the occurrence of another depressive episode. Some of these changes include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining treatment
  • Reducing stress by practicing relaxation techniques regularly
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships
  • Seeking a therapist when experiencing life stressors
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