Gaining weight on antidepressants

Horrible isn’t it? To be on medications and to endure the side effects. There are many things consumers wish their doctors adequately told them before starting on antidepressants.

Most antidepressant are likely to cause weight gain. Well, it varies individually actually.

With that being said, being depressed itself can cause weight gain. Some people tend to eat more when they are depressed and some would eat less.

Note that some people when they are depressed, they become tired, demotivated and fatigue. Hence the inactivity leads to further gain weight.

Antidepressants are linked to interfere with seratonin which is a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, mood and appetite. These changes causes one to crave more for carbohydrate rich foods.

There are many common antidepressants that are known to cause weight gain such as TCA’s, MAOi’s and SSRI’s. You may look it up on trusted medical websites for more information.

More often people quit on medications because of the fear of gaining weight. However, i strongly suggest you not to quit without your doctors consent. Bare in mind of the withdrawal symptoms it might impact on you.

Bottomline is, there’s no other way than exercise or keeping your diet in control to avoid weight gain. Easier said than done right?. It takes courage and strength to start on this journey of medications. Don’t be suprise if you started to realize you are gaining few pounds while on it.

Best if you could discuss with your psychiatrist and maybe come up with a more suitable drug for you. And if you could afford, maybe find a dietician to help you create a healthy diet plan while on medications.

Happy New Year lovelies #mentalhealthhope

This would be my last post for this year and I wish to share few of my wishes for those soulful people out there.

Let’s begin

I wish the tough days ahead come at ease, I hope your laughter this year finally brings you true joy and happiness, I hope the weight of your heart is lifted so you could free yourself to the right places, I wish this year you will finally understand your worth and start loving yourself they way you never thought you could.

I wish this is the year you stop making excuses and start making a stand for your own life, I wish the first many sip of coffee and tea that you make feels like magic and hope, I wish you should never need to apologise ever again to your heart the way it wanted to love.

I wish words and knowledge mould wisdom and great insights in you, I wish there are days you would even feed the poor and the needy at times others fail to do so, I wish you enpower others to grow and bring light and joy to others around you.

I wish this year is the year you stop blaming yourself for every failure you thought you brought upon yourself, I wish there are many days you wake up and feel alive again and that life is finally meaningful to you.

I wish there will be lesser days of crying and feeling hopeful on bed, I wish this year you’ll have random adventures to yourself, catching sunrise and meeting strangers. I wish this year you will gaze at the night sky and realised what you went through made you a stronger person and that if the days comes you ever leave me or life fails again, you’re unbeatable.

I wish you will always have enough food on your table and that you learned to be more grateful than ever of the things you already have, I wish you keep climbing and if there is any day that you feel like giving up, you will keep your heads up and smile like a queen or king. You have been into places that others couldn’t survive.

I wish,

That you will always wake up and feel very much alive again.

Love- tia

Signs your collegue or employee are dealing with depression or any other form of mental illness and how to assist them ?

Before i share the following post, i hope people understand the difference between a friend that is having burnout symptom or depression. Burnout cases does not require any form of medication for treatment while most depression cases does.

Burnout is a syndrome that results of a chronic stress at a workplace that has not been successfully manage. Cristina Maslach who studied and researched the burnout phenomenon stated that it includes three major components which are 1- Exhaustion 2-Cynicism 3-Inefficacy or reduce sense of accomplishment. The way it makes you feel really is similar to depression. But it is actually an emotional exhaustion and negative response as a result of prolong stress at your workplace or any other factor environment.

Understand that a depressed person will typically include physical changes in a way your body functions like energy level changes, appetite, sleep etc. And if you were to ask deeper, most of them are not having problems that are coming from work. But yes, workplace can be an aggravate factor for them. But usually some already may have depression way longer before they even start working. Sooner or later, only to realize that it has spiral down and affected their job or career if fail to seek for treatment earlier.

Here’s some signs you may notice and if you notice any of your friends are having atleast 5 of these and have lasted for more than a week or worsened over time. I think it’s time to lend a hand 🙂

  • Difficulty in making decisions, concentrating or focus.
  • Absenteeism/ frequent missing from work
  • Looks fatigue or tired
  • Complaints of having trouble sleeping at night
  • Unexplain sore and aching pains
  • Mention that he/she often sleeps too little or too much ( people often mistaken with being lazy)
  • Cancelling plans last minute
  • Substance abuse ( alcohol / drugs)
  • Easily irritated
  • Jokes about suicidal ideation
  • Often skip lunch with collegue ( more often they want to be left alone)
  • No pleasure in any form of activities

Next step is to approach them. Avoid using sentences like:

Be interested. Offer them assistance or share any knowledge that you have for them to seek help. It takes only one person to save a life from worsening. And all you need to do is ask a simple question. Be a good listener rather than a good advisor. Sometimes, all they need is just an ear to lend and a shoulder to lean through their tough times. Be mindful with your words too, a little encouragement or quotes goes along way with them. 🙂

My doctor gave me EPILIM? should i be worried of side effects etc? Brief education for newbies. :)

Valproate, valproic acid, sodium valproate or however you prefer to call them. You probably have heard them by their brand name Epilim or Epivan. These are medications that are commonly taken to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorders. Both long and short-acting forms are available for these guys. They come in tablets and injections too,though injections are usually made in hospital settings only.

I would love to explain all the biochemical pathways of it but i think its best to keep it simple and short. So how it helps with bipolar? Simple, it basically tapers down your manic and mixed episodes.  It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.

Common side effects are like constitutional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, drowziness, diarrhoea and etc. In any case of serious side effects occur, immediately visit your nearest hospital. Though i haven’t heard such cases before on anyone taking sodium valproate.

There are contraindications taking this drug. That is why i suggest you seek for your healthcare professionals advice before hand especially if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

Interaction with other medications if you are on any others, here’s a little reference i’ve attached that you might find it useful or you may just ask your pharmacists about this. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/valproic-acid,valproate-sodium.html

Any readers out there, if you have any experience or stories with taking epilim you’re welcome to share it here. Any sort of information would greatly be a form of help to those who are seeking for medication help but are sceptical about it.

Prices and Costs of respective Mental Health services and providers in Malaysia

Seeking professional help
Brief estimation if you intend to seek for professional help in Malaysia. Do bare in mind, some of these wages will vary according to different individual. And some of your charges will only be waived, or you will be given a special discount if you meet some criteria’s such as a disabled person, a government servant, holding a social welfare card etc.

As for insurance coverage, you can go to any clinic or hospital that covered under your insurance. AIA is one of the insurance company so far in Malaysia that offers insurance benefits that includes Mental Health.

SERVICE LINES / HOTLINES
Befrienders
A non-profit organisation that provides emotional support to the distressed and suicidal for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The volunteers are trained and conversations are confidential.

Cost fee: Free of charge by 8 telecommunication operators which include Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, TIME dotcom Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd, Webe Digital Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd.

ONLINE CONSULTATION/THERAPY PLATFORM
Cost fee: Depends on the attending physician or counselor. Some may be as low as RM20/session. Do bare in mind fees may vary from RM10 to RM200 depending on the physician. You may search your favorite practitioner on sites like TELEME for instance. Other online services that provides psychotherapy also include RELATE Malaysia/The Help Talk at affordable prices.

PRIVATE CLINIC/ PRIVATE HOSPITAL
Cost fee: Price varies on each clinic or hospital setting. Per session is up to RM100. Medication prices varies depending on the treatment you are prescribed. It can cost between RM15 to RM30 per pill and bare in mind you will need a month supply of boxes. Some patients with a certain type of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or autism will incur even higher costs,

GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL
Cost fee: Your charges will be waived if you are a government servant especially those who work in the government setting itself. Consultation fee for public can cost RM5-15 per session. As for medication it can be up to over RM100 per box depending on the type of medication pertaining to the diagnosis given.

THERAPY CENTER
Cost fees: Depending on the provider and treatment needed, in most private centres that offers this psychological services, rates for a single psychotherapy session with a psychologist can range anywhere from RM250 to RM800,

Mental Health. Now’s a good time to seek for help for you and your loved ones. Here’s a simple breakthrough how. Malaysia psychiatric care.

If you are struggling with depression or any suicidal thoughts, follow the following steps for the right diagnosis and treatment.

Step 1 : Referral Letter
From Klinik Kesihatan, Specialist Clinic, Private Clinic ( GP)

Step 2: Choose any hospital with a psychiatric clinic which is convenient for you.
( *Bring along this referral letter )

Step 3: Call or walk-in at your chosen hospital

Government hospital that you may walk in
University of Malaya Medical Center
Hospital Kajang
Hospital Sungai Buloh
Tropicana Medical Center
KPJ Kajang Specialist Center
Hospital Tuanku Fauziah Kangar Perlis
Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah Kedah
Hospital Pulau Pinang ( only for emergency cases )
Hospital Bahagia (Psychiatric Clinic)Tanjung Rambutan
Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar, Seremban
Hospital Melaka
Hospital Permai (Psychiatric Clinic) Tampoi Johor
Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Kuantan
Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah, Terengganu
Hospital Mesra Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Hospital Miri, Miri, Sarawak
Hospital Sentosa (Psychiatric Hospital), Kuching, Sarawak
( be sure to check their walk in hours)

Apart from University Malaya, other teaching hospitals also provide psychiatric services such as UPM ( clinic ), HUSM ( clinic ),UTIM ( clinic ). PPUM

Government hospitals as follow strictly no walk-in:
1. Hospital Kuala Lumpur
2. Hospital Putrajaya
3. Hospital Selayang4. Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang
5. Pusat Perubataan University Kebangsaan Malaysia
6. Hospital Serdang
7. University Malaya Specialist Center UMSC

Private hospital or clinic walk in:
Klinik Pakar CN Chin Sdn. Bhd, Jalan Pudu Kuala Lumpur
Tung Shin Hospital (Psychiatry Dept.) Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
Hospital Assunta ,Petaling Jaya Selangor
Sri Kota Specialist Medical Centre, Klang Selangor

Private Hospital or clinic no walk-in:
Damansara Specialist Centre, Petaling Jaya Selangor
Gleneagles Hospital , Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur
PUSRAWI (Pusat Rawatan Islam) Hospital, Kuala Lumpur
Subang Jaya (Sime Darby) Medical Centre
Sunway Medical Centre
Damai Service Hospital (HQ)
Hospital Pantai Cheras

Step 4: Depends on which government, private hospital or teaching hospital you choose. You will be access by a doctor or set an appointment on that day. Further process you will be instruct there. Sometimes they may take some of your blood investigations or scans just to rule out other causes.

Psychiatric Clinic
Monday to Friday
08:00 – 11:00

Note: In any case you intend to seek for help from private sectors it is possible to see a psychiatrist or psychologist directly without going through a GP ( General Practitioner). However, i would always recommend that your family doctor gets involve and fully aware of any treatments that you are on.

The idea of letting go of the past. Dont throw your past, keep it and mold it

I had this idea in my mind, it kept me thinking a lot about it. From my recent visit to see my psychiatrist Dr Elinda, PSY of Hospital Serdang, we were talking about various new things. I love how she shares her thoughts and perspective not only in mental health but also other things.

For many years i have heard people keep saying of letting go of the past. It sounds almost like its useless for your future. I mean yes, take the good ones leave the bad ones behind. Everybody knows this yeah?.

I began to realize that the ” past ” which is neither good or bad. Both is essential to make up who we are today. Imagine it like the curve part of a key. Your ups and downs represent that curve nature you have on a particular key. Therefore, both is important to create this particular key.

And only you have that specific type of curve nature because its your past that is imprinted theoretically. In order to slide into the lock that’s meant to be yours and open it, you must be able to have that specific type of curve nature. You see, challenges in life weather its good or bad. One could never be mold into something great with just either one of it.

How does a minute feels like living in a mania and depressive reality? Part 3

He had this love for his bed like no one else does, people used to call him lazy and that he likes to sleep a lot. In reality, he felt like sleeping is the only escape and much easier than death. But even though as much as he loves to sleep, it was never easy to sleep at night.

He has this tendency to wake up in the middle of the night at 2AM for atleast 4 days in a week. He usually couldn’t fall asleep back too somehow. To make it worse at night before bed, he usually will have sudden palpitations. It almost felt like his heart is pounding all the way up to his throat and he gets breathless too sometimes. His hands would shake almost like a tremor. When there’s no one beside, he would sometimes forget to remind himself the breathing technique he learnt to master.

All this contributed to his lack of sleep, which made him even more tired and fatigued. His brain started to felt like a brain fog, unable to think or getting slower. He felt like giving up and felt tired feeling this way.

As usual, he had his regular follow up with his councellor and psychiatrist. It did helped him a little, especially the medications. But you know, it keeps coming back. So he invented a routine for himself, a routine that keeps him occupied and hopefully make him better in time. He did that, for almost 10 years and still counting.

If you could ask him ” How is it like being bipolar “?.

He would say,

” I’m surviving and it’s tough, there are many days i feel like giving up and taking my life. But it has also made me a more empathic, kind and loving person somehow. It changed my perspective of the world and how i intend to live my life. It’s a gift that is beautiful but also has the ugly side of it. I’m still working on myself in many aspects and still learning the meaning of not giving up, because at the end hope is all i got”.

How does a minute feels like living in a mania and depressive reality? Part 2

The following day, he had so much energy to get his tasks done. He was ready to learn, achieve, or complete the tasks he imagined. The thing is about this mania is that you get so pumped up for every single thing, that you tend to put so much expectation on yourself and that’s he did. He over exerted his thoughts and eventually went into a full blown depression.

He felt unworthy and useless . He felt like he did his best but somehow not getting the result he wanted or at least he felt like he could do much better. That’s what he keeps telling himself. So the inner thoughts and voices started to make a home in his mind.

He felt like he wanted to be alone, he was at his lowest of low. He didn’t want anyone to see it because it gets hard to explain what he’s feeling inside. He has been playing well hiding his thoughts and putting up a mask for many years.

The isolation became worse, he didn’t even want to come to work or could function properly as anxiety crawled in. He rejected phone calls and watched silently each of his friends or family calls. No activities interest him anymore, he just want to be alone.

At this point, he started to feel a little bit more overwhelmed compared to his previous breakdown. He felt like the world is taking and pulling him down the very place he started. On top of that, he felt like he didn’t do very well at his work place recently. This sums up every feeling that he’s going through at this moment.

To be continued Part 3

How does a minute feels like living in a mania and depressive reality? Part 1

P/s: The story below depicts a young boy who has already been diagnosed by medical professionals and recognizes his symptoms well enough. Do seek for help if you can relate to the symptoms below.

Note: Different individual may manifests their symptoms differently and varies according to severity.

For emotional support, please call the hotline  603-79568145 ( Befrienders Malaysia )

A boy went out for a dinner with his close friends. He was excited as usual, gatherings or party was always his thing. He enjoys listening to the sound of every beat of the song and the ambience of night always get him pumped up.

He knew he felt euphoric, its the kind of joy that usually describe as feeling heightened up, unusually happy and hyperactive. He just knew that he’s about to have a good time like he’s on any sort of opiates or substance that can make him high. He admits, he does love this euphoria feeling.

As usual, he always cracks his lame jokes and enjoys acting out silly. Without thinking much, he had this impulsive thoughts. All he wanted to do is just dance, he just doesn’t bother what people might say. His friends always wonder how he got so energetic and funny. They enjoyed this side of him. On regular days, he could be quiet and serious at times. They described him as a total different person.

He heads home after a long night, he felt like he didn’t need any sleep at all. He slept eventually but felt fatigued and tired eventually the next day he woke up. He continued to carry on his regular chores and work.

Night came and he felt it again. He knew it was this euphoric feeling. This time he had racing thoughts and ideas. He describes it like ‘flipping 1000 channels on tv in split seconds’. This ideas were too many he tried to pick it up and start to put them in tasks to do.

He always felt most creative at this hour, like he’s on top of the world. He always liked listening to classics so he played it on his phone, ‘Alla Turca’ by Mozart. He would feel like he can study, read or do things that exceeds his ordinary. But he does get headache and migraines often if the noise is too much in his mind.

He feels this way so extreme that he feels like he can accomplish anything and that nothing is impossible. Even the unrealistic idea’s seems to feel easy and attainable. It’s good, but it could also lead to depression easily.

Not long after that his girlfriend came over. They talked and he had this rapid speech as if they have never talked on the phone for months. He felt irritated, because he felt like his girlfriend was taking too much time replying his speech. That everything is going too slow for him. He got a little agitated, but with his coping practice he was able to control his emotions.

To be continued in Part 2