Depression is different from feeling down or sad. Unhappiness is something which
everyone feels at one time or another, usually due to a particular cause. A person
suffering from depression will experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness,
negativity and helplessness, and the feelings stay with them instead of going away.
Signs and symptoms of depression
The following are the most common symptoms of depression. If you experience four
or more of these symptoms for most of the day, every day for more than two weeks,
you should seek help from your GP.
Tiredness and loss of energy.
Sadness that doesn’t go away.
Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting.
Feeling anxious all the time.
Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends.
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier
Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
Finding it hard to function at work/college/school.
Loss of appetite.
Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems.
Physical aches and pains.
Thinking about suicide and death.
What causes depression?
Depression can happen suddenly as a result of physical illness, experiences dating
back to childhood, unemployment, bereavement, family problems or other life-changing
Examples of chronic illnesses linked to depression include heart disease, back pain
and cancer. Pituitary damage, a treatable condition which frequently follows head
injuries, may also lead to depression.
Sometimes, there may be no clear reason for your depression but, whatever the original
cause, identifying what may affect how you feel and the things that are likely to
trigger depression is an important first step.
Schizophrenia is a diagnosis given to some people who have severely disordered beliefs
and experiences. However many people diagnosed with schizophrenia and some professionals
dispute whether there is such a condition.
Doctors describe two groups of symptoms in people with schizophrenia: positive and
negative. Although the positive symptoms are often the most dramatic and, at least
initially, the most distressing, the negative ones tend to cause the most problems,
as they tend to be longer lasting.
Most people with schizophrenia are prescribed drugs to reduce the positive symptoms.
The drugs may be prescribed for long periods and may have unpleasant side effects.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common form of anxiety disorder involving
distressing, repetitive thoughts. That makes OCD particularly difficult to make sense
of or to explain to other people.
What causes OCD?
There are different theories about why OCD develops. It can be based on previous
experiences, especially during childhood. Your personality type may also be important
– perfectionists seem to be more prone to OCD.
OCD has been linked to increased activity in certain parts of the brain and some
experts think low levels of a brain chemical called serotonin may be involved, although
others disagree with this theory. Stress does not cause OCD, but a stressful event
such as giving birth, the death of someone close to you or divorce may act as a trigger.
What are the treatments for OCD?
There are a number of treatments and strategies to help you deal with OCD. The first
step in getting treatment is to explain your symptoms to your GP who can then refer
you for specialist help. The most effective treatments for OCD usually involve talking
treatments – such as counseling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy – and
Alcoholism (alcohol dependence) and alcohol abuse are two different forms of problem
Alcoholism is when you have signs of physical addiction to alcohol and continues
to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family,
or job responsibilities. Alcohol may control your life and relationships.
Alcohol abuse is when your drinking leads to problems, but not physical addiction.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There is no known cause of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Research suggests that certain
genes may increase the risk of alcoholism, but which genes and how they work are
You have an increased risk for alcohol abuse and dependence if you have a parent
You may also be more likely to abuse alcohol or become dependent if you:
Are a young adult under peer pressure
Have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
Have easy access to alcohol
Have low self-esteem
Have problems with relationships
Live a stressful lifestyle
Live in a culture where alcohol use is more common and accepted
Alcohol abuse is rising. Around 1 out of 6 people in the United States have a drinking
People who have alcoholism or alcohol abuse often:
Continue to drink, even when health, work, or family are being harmed
Become violent when drinking
Become hostile when asked about drinking
Are not able to control drinking -- being unable to stop or reduce alcohol intake
Make excuses to drink
Miss work or school, or have a decrease in performance because of drinking
Stop taking part in activities because of alcohol
Need to use alcohol on most days to get through the day
Neglect to eat or eat poorly
Do not care about or ignore how they dress or whether they are clean
Try to hide alcohol use
Shake in the morning or after periods when they have not had a drink
Symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
Memory lapses after heavy drinking
Needing more and more alcohol to feel "drunk"
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you haven't had a drink for a while
Alcohol-related illnesses such as alcoholic liver disease
Bipolar I disorder (pronounced "bipolar one" and also known as manic-depressive disorder
or manic depression) is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I
disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is
a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts
Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. Often,
there is a pattern of cycling between mania and depression. This is where the term
"manic depression" comes from. In between episodes of mania and depression, many
people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.
What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Mood Disorder?
During a manic episode in someone with bipolar disorder, elevated mood can manifest
itself as either euphoria (feeling "high") or as irritability.
Abnormal behavior during manic episodes includes:
Flying suddenly from one idea to the next
Rapid, "pressured," and loud speech
Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep
What Are the Treatments for Bipolar I Disorder?
Manic episodes in bipolar I disorder require treatment with drugs, such as antidepressants,
mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines, and newer antipyschotics.
What Is It and How Can It Be Treated?
Bipolar 2 is a psychiatric disorder just as the more well-known bipolar 1 is, but
it differs significantly from bipolar 1. Bipolar 2 has as one of its characteristics
the disorder of hypomania, which can be less overt in its symptoms than full-blown
mania. Symptoms of hypomania include the following:
The person may feel energetic, talkative, have increased (maybe even "inflated")
self-esteem, have "racing" or very rapid thought processes, and perhaps make inappropriate
or impulsive choices that they later come to regret. It should also be noted that
hypomania can actually lead to full-blown mania, the type seen in bipolar 1.
Along with the hypomania, those with the disorder often are also irritable, and
have anxiety besides. Oftentimes, they are misdiagnosed as having depression with
anxiety disorder, or simply anxiety disorder. The problem with this diagnosis is
that if they are only given an antidepressant and not treatment for their hypomania,
they can actually be pushed into a manic phase. If that happens, their moods can
swing in and out of depression and mania.
What's the difference between hypomania and mania?
As you can probably tell by the names, "hypomania" means, literally, "low mania,"
and in fact, it is simply a less severe form of mania. However, left untreated or
treated improperly, it can actually progress into full-blown mania.
With hypomania, as it occurs in bipolar 2 disorders, the person may actually feel
very productive and happy; indeed, even to people witnessing someone experiencing
hypomania, they may think that this is in fact a "good" thing. This is one of the
things that make hypomania difficult to diagnose. Of course, being productive and
happy is a good thing in and of it, but as part of the disorder, hypomania puts the
patient at risk making rash decisions if their hypo manic behavior includes this
type of occurrence. In addition, if they are taking antidepressants, they can be
pushed into a full manic episode.
Unfortunately, if someone has bipolar 2, antidepressants alone can't help them (and
of course can make the situation worse as described above). Bipolar 2 also includes
a propensity to cycle rapidly between depressed and hypo manic states. And if the
rapid cycling is misdiagnosed, the patient may be prescribed sedatives in addition
to antidepressants, which will push moods even further out of balance.
Treating bipolar 2 disorder properly
With bipolar 2, it is imperative to treat both the depression (which can be very
severe) and the hypomania at the same time, so as to avoid prescribing only antidepressants
for the depression, which can make the hypomania, escalate into full mania.
In actuality, treatment of bipolar 2 disorder actually uses a lot of the same medications
as bipolar 1 disorder does. Common medications include mood stabilizers like lithium
and anticonvulsants like Tegretol. Low-dose antidepressant medication can also help.
Because people with bipolar 2 do not generally have psychotic symptoms or behavior,
they usually don't need antipsychotic medications.
It may take some time to find a proper medication regimen, since every patient is
different. Therefore, it may take some time to stabilize and find the right dosages
for patients even once properly diagnosed. If patients have demonstrated suicidal
tendencies during depressive phases especially, they may need to be hospitalized
temporarily to keep them safe while medications are properly adjusted.
Most of our residents are referred to us by their psychiatrists, other mental health
professionals, hospitals, and mental health institutions. Individuals are also free
to apply directly.
Applications may be made by the individual seeking help, a family member, guardian
or someone acting on his or her behalf if the person is unable to do so him or herself.
If you have any queries, please call the following number (011) 435 – 0727 / 8 and
make an appointment with our staff.
Once your application has been received, psychiatric reports from your health professional
will be requested. You will then be invited to the foundation for an interview.
On your visit, you will be given a tour of the facilities and our staff will conduct
an assessment and determine whether or not the foundation can offer you the assistance