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Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Mental illness can seem like purgatory. It is filled with stigma and misunderstanding. When you, or someone you love, suffer from mental illness it doesn’t have to feel like a prison sentence. There is help for those diagnosed with mental illness. If your child is diagnosed as having a mental illness, the most important thing is to arm yourself with information. There are many studies about mental illness: what causes them, which are the most prevalent, which ones are treatable, and how to support both the patient and the family while striving to achieve a resemblance of a normal life. Here we look at the three most common mental illnesses in the country. (Read more about Top 3 Learning Disabilities in Singapore)

 

Major Depressive Disorder

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Almost 6% of the Singaporean population will be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in their lifetime. The disorder is frequently called by other names such as clinical depression and unipolar depression. It is characterized by

an all encompassing ‘bad’ mood. MDD is also frequently accompanied by very low self-esteem and a loss of pleasure, or even any interest at all, in activities that one used to enjoy. While people can most certainly suffer from depression at periodic difficult times throughout their lives, MDD is actually a debilitating disorder that impacts all areas of the patient’s life such as work, school, and family. Even sleeping and eating can be tasks that are difficult to perform. While there is no permanent cure, there are fortunately treatments that can be very effective in helping a patient who suffers from MDD. The challenge is ensuring that the patient continues to take their medication regularly into adulthood. Additionally, there can be some side effects with medication that sometimes require frequent follow-up visits and prescription adjustments until the right combination of medicines is achieved. It is important to seek medical treatment if the patient appears suicidal or exhibits behavior that is dangerous to themselves or others. If you suspect that your child may suffer from a deep clinical depression, please seek the guidance of a health professional as soon as possible. The student would likely be having difficulty in school, little or no friends, drawings and writings that are very dark and full of doom and despair. There is hope, with the proper treatment.

 

Alcohol Abuse

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

MDD is followed by alcohol abuse as the next most prevalent mental disorder in the country. Current studies indicate that a little over 3% of the population will suffer from alcohol abuse in their lifetime. Alcohol abuse is defined as an

individual who is a recurring user of alcohol despite the negative consequences it brings to their life. Binge drinking can be a form of alcohol abuse that is frequently found in children and adolescents from high school to college, and unfortunately even beginning in secondary school. The best way to differentiate between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that alcohol abuse is present when there are critical consequences related to the drinking of alcohol while alcoholics actually suffer from symptoms of withdrawal when they do not have alcohol. Depression, alcohol abuse, and suicide are all closely related to one another in many individuals. Alcohol abuse does affect the central nervous system and can cause symptoms of irritability, insomnia, and chronic anxiety, among others. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse also causes inflammation on the brain known as neuro-inflammation and leads to white matter loss. Adolescents and children under 16 who engage in heavy consumption of alcohol will likely exhibit social impairment, conduct disorder, learning disabilities, and behavior problems. Adolescents who participate in alcohol abuse risk continued alcohol use disorders as adults due to changes in their developing brain. If you suspect that your child, at any age, is engaging in alcohol abuse it is important to take intervention action immediately. Finding the proper program for treatment and intervention will give them the best chance for success in understanding the dangers of their disorder.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Top 3 Mental Illnesses in Singapore

Approximately 3% of the population is diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is an anxiety disorder. OCD exhibits itself in repetitive behavior in an attempt to reduce anxiety or fears such as with repeatedly

checking on something, excessive hand washing, or even extreme hoarding. Almost half of all adults with OCD report that the anxiety and symptoms of the disorder appeared during childhood. It is believed that many sufferers actually have high intelligence. They display traits such as careful planning, thoughtful decision making, and a high attention to detail. MDD, OCD and even bipolar disorder are frequently diagnosed together, making an individual a dual or multi-diagnosis patient. This can be particularly tricky to treat due to the possibility of conflicting medications. Depression and suicide can be high risks due to the anxiety and fear that the patient seems to not be able to rationally find relief from, or shake out of their mind. Support programs and proper treatment and education can help to provide a normal lifestyle to an OCD sufferer, no matter what their age.

 

Conclusion

Studies show that 10% of the population will likely suffer from a mental disorder at some point within their lifetime. This may seem exceedingly high, but it is important to recognize that many people are able to function ‘normally’ in society even with a diagnosis of a mental illness or disorder such as those mentioned in this article. Experts agree that the most critical piece of the puzzle is proper diagnosis so that treatment options can be explored in such a manner that allows the patient to resume a normal life as soon as possible after diagnosis and initial treatment begins.

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