Over the years, it’s become more apparent that mental health is way too important to be left to the professionals alone. It’s believed that 4 out of every 10 Malaysians will suffer from one type of mental health illness in the course of their lives. Among the different mental health illnesses that develop as a result of changing brain chemistry, chronic depression is one of the most notorious.
Often dubbed “The Silent Killer,” depression hasn’t always received the attention it deserves in Malaysia, and it’s so often shunned and easy to stigmatize. If you’re depressed or suffer from uncontrollable anxiety, a visit to your doctor is usually the next logical step, and he’ll tell you the reason you feel that way is because of your brain isn’t working right — it’s not producing the right amount of neurochemicals. He probably gave you drugs to help you feel better and fix your brain.
Inadvertently, you’ll come to realize that the drugs only provide temporary relief, but once they’re out of your system, the pain and depression comes flooding back in.
Depression in Malaysia: History
What is today known as depression was first reported in ancient Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC. At that time, depression was regarded as a spiritual attack. However, we know better now. Depression is becoming increasingly prevalent in Malaysia, and it’s projected to be a major mental health illness among Malaysians by 2020 as a result of the increasing effects of stress from work, family and the society.
According to the 2017 National Health and Morbidity Survey, about 29% of Malaysians have had depressive, and anxiety disorders which is much higher than the 12% reported in 2011. As scary as that sounds, the survey gave an even more chilling insight into the prevalence of depression among Malaysians. A 50% increase in the number of depressed patients was observed from 2011 to 2015.
Depression is a common psychological disorder that causes feelings of intense sadness, loss of interest in activities, and it negatively affects how a person feels and acts. Despite all attempts by health organizations to prevent and manage this public health issue, the disorder is continually on the increase. The questions on everyone’s minds now are, “what exactly causes depression and anxiety? What could we be doing wrong?”
Depression and The Media
In the past, the media hasn’t always been straightforward about mental health illnesses, especially depressive disorders. The media has been blamed for presenting wrong and stigmatizing depictions of depression and other mental disorders making it a lot more difficult for people suffering from depression to admit and be open about it. They avoid seeking help because of the stigma surrounding it.
However, a recent analysis of media news coverage suggests media representation of depression are improving as the years go by. But there are specific details the media isn’t telling you about depression, and you’re about to find out.
Causes of Depression in Malaysia
It’s surprising to discover that many leading scientists still believe the idea that depression is caused as a result of a “chemically imbalanced brain.” This is totally wrong! It was discovered that there are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are all around us, and not necessarily locked up in our brains. These are;
- Genetics and Biology.
- Poor Nutrition.
- Physical Health Problems.
- Drugs and alcohol.
- Stressful Life Events.
- Grief and Loss.
- Certain medications.
- Personal conflicts or disputes.
- Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
The research of the remarkable Dr. Vincent Felitti gave science the breakthrough it needed in discovering the deep-rooted causes of depression. Dr. Felitti, after a series of investigations he conducted to study the link between obesity and depression gave mind-blowing results, decided to launch a massive research program, funded by Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. In this research, he wanted to discover how the different kinds of possible childhood trauma affect us as adults.
The results of the research seemed unbelievable. It became apparent that childhood trauma caused the risks of developing adult depression to skyrocket. People who had experienced a traumatic childhood event were 3,100 percent more likely to attempt suicide as adults, and more than 4,000 percent had a greater tendency to be injecting drug users.
The next question to ask was, “Why do so many people who experience childhood violence feel the same way?” One very good explanation is down to how we handled these traumatic experiences as children. Many children simply admit that they’re powerless against such violence and just let themselves be abused, while others blame themselves for their experiences. Not being able to be open about these experiences, these children grow up with emotional scars that are kept locked deep down behind the red doors of their minds, and they grow up trying to act normal and fit in.
With these results, one could conclude that depression and anxiety are not results of something spontaneously being wrong with the functioning of your brain. Depression and anxiety disorders are mostly caused by past traumatic events in our lives and how these events affect us in adulthood. If you find work stressful and meaningless, and you’re powerless to do anything about it, it triggers an emotional response of depression. If you can’t rely on friends and family for support during lonely times, you’re more likely to be depressed. If you feel insecure about your future, you’re more likely to be depressed. If you think life is more about acquiring wealth and climbing the success ladder, you’re also likely to be depressed. There are so many ways in which childhood traumatic experiences have managed to escape from the ‘red door’ where you once locked them into our everyday lives as adults.
What the media and most medical practitioners get wrong is that they don’t tackle the underlying cause of depression. Depressed patients who were able to talk about their childhood experiences through therapy were able to release some of the shame and guilt they’ve held on to for so long— a kind of healing process. This singular act coupled with drug treatment caused a never before seen fall in depression and a reduction in future mental illnesses.
When next you see a family or friend that’s silently depressed, start asking ‘what happened to them’ and help them heal, rather than allowing them to drown their pains and depression with drugs, coupled with the wrong believe that something is especially wrong with their brains.
If you or your loved one always feel sad, depressed and demotivated, and you’re not sure if that’s a sign of depressive disorder in play, it’s best to get a professional assessment, and that’s where we come in. We have professionals who can help you with an expert evaluation of your mental health, and we handle our cases with a high degree of privacy and confidentiality. We’re renowned for helping people suffering from chronic depression and anxiety disorders overcome the overwhelming feelings that come with it. It all starts with taking that bold step to talk with us, so contact us today.