Mood Disorders

29 Nov 2014

What is depression?

Depression is a very overused word in society. “I’m so depressed” and ” This is so depressing” are commonly used phrases. True depression in the clinical sense is more complicated than this. Sadness is a common human emotion, and it is commonly brought about by loss. Loss of spouse, child, business, home can all cause you to feel sad. Sadness is a normal human emotion which is felt acutely and then slowly resolves. So, when does sadness become depression? I’m often faced with this question, and have to tease out exactly what is going on. Depression is an intense chronic […]
01 Dec 2014

I think I am depressed, what can I do to get better?

The first thing to do if you suspect that you may be depressed is to speak to a mental health care practitioner or a medical practitioner in order to make a diagnosis and exclude other medical conditions. Depression can be managed with or without medication. Either route you take it will really make a difference if you make some changes in your day-to-day routine. Ive used this wellness wheel to look at different aspects where simple changes can be made. Intellectual Educate yourself about depression, read websites, books. I always say you can’t try to ‘beat’ depression without fully understanding […]
04 Dec 2014

Finding professional help for depression in South Africa

There are a few ways to find help for treatment of depression. In the private sector, initially I would advise approaching a general practitioner who can confirm the diagnosis and start treatment if necessary. Alternatively, make an appointment with a psychologist in your area and discuss your concerns with him/her. If your depression is complicated and not responding well to treatment, I would recommend that you see a psychiatrist for a more intense assessment. In the public sector there are local mental health clinics in all districts ( definitely in Gauteng). Go to your local clinic and ask to see […]
29 Dec 2014

How does my Doctor choose my Antidepressant ?

I can only really comment on what I think about when deciding to start a patient on these medications, based on my experience and studies. This is not medical advice, more my opinion on the thought process behind the science. I have made it quite simple so if you have specific questions you can comment below/email me or ask your treating doctor. I try and match up my patients with the medication I’m prescribing. This helps them stay on the medication if they experience minimal side effects and benefit from the meds. This is not always an easy thing to […]
28 Feb 2015

Doc, can I have a drink?

The research is out there – if you suffer from a mood disorder (depression or bipolar disorder) and you drink alcohol – it can affect your mood stability. Alcohol been shown to Increase episodes of mood disturbances Worsen the intensity of mood disturbances Cause a relapse of symptoms What does alcohol do to the brain? Alcohol enters the body via the stomach and is absorbed and transported in the blood to the brain (amongst other organs). In the brain, it affects various neurochemicals – particularly in a way that causes euphoria (happiness), slowed thinking, sleepiness and disinhibition. This is a […]