Newspaper Columns

12 December 2022





抑鬱症有遺傳及生理因素,也受性格和外在環境所影響,不是單靠個人意志力就能「克服」。 根據港大醫學院聯同社會科學學院一項有關新冠疫情期間抑鬱症及焦慮症的合作研究顯示,抑鬱症患者若未有適當治療,會有較高風險出現酗酒和吸毒、心臟病發作、慢性疼痛及自殺的問題。

使用對話療法、抗抑鬱藥及個人化治療抑鬱症有充分的證據支持,並已幫助許多患者康復。 因此,識別症狀並尋求協助十分重要。抑鬱症是可以治癒的,如有任何疑問,應諮詢家庭醫生。如果想了解自己當前的情緒狀態或支援服務的聯絡資訊,可掃描以下QR-Code瀏覽醫務衞生局心理健康諮詢委員會的「Shall We Talk」網站

「Shall We Talk」網站


Original article in English

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on our resilience and wellbeing.  Many have had routines, work and health disrupted, lost jobs or housing or loved ones, and are feeling the effects of social isolation or worrying about the future.  In a 2020 HKU survey of 500 Hong Kong residents, 25% reported that their mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic.  People are feeling worried, sad and hopeless.

Everyone experiences the full spectrum of emotions over the course of their lives, from joy to anger to fear to sadness. Sadness, like all emotions, is triggered by a stimulus. It could be failing an exam, being rejected by a friend, losing a beloved pet, or the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Emotions are expressed in physical and psycho-social ways.

Sadness presents with a characteristic physical appearance with lowered lip corners, downcast eyes and a stooped posture or slow gait.  A sad person may have trouble sleeping (or sleep too much), have poor appetite (or eat too much) and have low energy.  In addition to feeling sad, they may cry, feel hopeless, have trouble concentrating, be socially withdrawn and show less interest in things that they used to enjoy.

Sadness is an expected a part of life especially when there is an identifiable trigger.  However, when sadness is prolonged (more than 2 weeks) or is interfering with quality of life or day-to-day activities or causing thoughts of self-harm, it could be depression. For some depressed people, there may not be any noticeable physical or behavioural signs of the profound inner turmoil. Others may not feel particularly sad but instead have chronic headaches, abdominal discomfort, or other body pains that don’t seem to resolve.

Depression has a genetic and biological basis, and is also influenced by personality and external factors, and is not something that a person can just ‘get over’ by willpower alone. Research shows that untreated depression is linked to higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse, heart attacks, chronic pain and suicide.

Depression treated with talking therapies, antidepressant medication and individualized strategies is strongly grounded in evidence and has allowed many people to recover. Therefore, it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek help.  Talk to your family doctor even if you are not sure, because depression is highly treatable.

The HKSAR Health Bureau Advisory Committee on Mental Health has an informative website called ‘Shall we talk’ that includes screening tools if you would like to have a better understanding of your current emotional state or contact information for support services: