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[Opinion] Depression

Posted December. 19, 2005 03:04,   


Depression is a mental disease that one or two out of 10 persons suffer from. It is also known as “mental influenza,” which can attack people as frequently as a cold.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), melancholia is one of the three diseases that most often afflicts human beings, following heart disease and traffic accidents, and will likely be in second place by 2020. With the complicated nature of human relationships, one’s sense of estrangement and stress becomes serious, a situation that increases the number of melancholiacs.

Symptoms of Depression-

Little interest and happiness in everyday life, sleep disturbances, fretting and impatience without reason, fatigue with low spirits, self-distrust, a lack of concentration, and an obsession with death are some of the symptoms of depression.

Experts advise those who suffer from a combination of three to four out of the symptoms above to receive medical treatment as soon as possible.

According to an American novelist, Andrew Solomon, who once suffered from depression, “loss” is a major cause of the disease.

He explained through his novel “The Noonday Demon” (2004) that human beings begin to suffer from depression when they are separated from beloved persons, including parents, husbands and wives, and lose their “props,” like social positions, assets, reputation, and self-identity. He maintains that “depression eliminates hopes at first,” and that “melancholic people are deprived of beliefs in love and senses of humor, and are left with nothing.”

Failure to apply melancholia treatments may cause more serious diseases, including morbid dependence on alcohol and heart disease.

The Financial Times (FT) reported on the recent stem cell incident that “Korea is suffering from national depression.”

The FT may have described the sense of loss and the state of panic suffered by Koreans as such after the people’s trust in the research team of Seoul National University professor Hwang Woo-suk, who gave terminal disease patients some hopes of recovery, was unsettled. If it is correct to describe this as a “national depression,” then quick, effective treatment measures should be implemented by us for the sake of our nation.

Song Young-eon, Editorial Writer, youngeon@donga.com