Depression in Dubai: How to Deal with Sadness that Takes Over Your Life |

Depression in Dubai: How to Deal with Sadness that Takes Over Your Life

Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai discusses various kinds of depression, its symptoms and its effects on your mental health.

Posted on

15 January 2018

Last updated on 12 April 2018
How to Deal with Sadness that Takes Over Your Life

Consultants and therapists at Priory’s new Wellbeing Centre in Dubai have a long experience of working with patients with depression. Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

But, as Dr Saeed Islam, Priory’s Middle East Director, says: “For us to function in our day to day lives, to have a sense of wellbeing, to maintain our relationships, to be able to work in our working environment, we need to be in good mental health”.

So how do you know if you have depression?

Priory Dubai’s Dr. Rasha Bassim is a bilingual (Arabic & English) psychiatrist with more than 18 years of psychiatric experience managing cases for patients of all ages. Here she gives her expert opinion:

What are the main types of depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that impacts many individuals throughout the world. The World Health Organisation says depression is the leading cause of disability and ill-health worldwide.

Whilst sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences, there are some individuals who experience such overwhelming feelings of sadness that it affects their ability to function appropriately on a daily basis.

There are many different types of depression:

Severe depression

If you have lost the capacity to experience joy, no longer find pleasure in things that were once of interest to you, or are experiencing significant fatigue after only minimal effort, you are likely suffering from severe depression. Those with severe depression find it difficult, if not impossible, to engage in everyday tasks, and often experience profound feelings of worthlessness and a deteriorated sense of self-esteem.

There can also be a loss in appetite and subsequent fluctuations in weight. If you are suffering from severe depression, you will see little variance in your lowered mood each day, resulting in marked changes in overall functioning.

Severe depression with psychotic symptoms

Severe depression with psychotic symptoms is the existence of depression in combination with hallucinations and/or delusional thinking. Hallucinations refer to the experiencing of sensations that do not truly exist, such as seeing things that are not there or hearing voices that are not real. Delusions are characterised by false beliefs that a person maintains even after being provided with evidence to the contrary.

Moderately severe depression

If you are suffering from moderately severe depression, you will experience symptoms that are similar to those experienced by individuals with severe depression, but they will likely be less distinct. You may experience minor improvements in your distress from one day to the next, but ultimately your functioning will continue to be hindered.

Bipolar depression

Bipolar depression has symptoms similar to that of severe depression, yet also includes symptoms of elation, euphoria, heightened energy and grandiose thinking, which is indicative of a manic episode.


If you are suffering from Dysthymia, you will experience chronic periods of depressive mood that have lasted for several years, yet symptoms will not be severe enough to cause profound disturbances in your ability to function.

Recurrent depression

Recurrent depression will likely be diagnosed if you are experiencing repeated episodes of depression, but do not have a history of independent episodes of heightened energy or mood elevation that would be suggestive of the manic episodes that are part of bipolar depression.

Causes and risk factors of depression

There are a number of factors that may cause you to be more susceptible to suffering from a form of depression. Research has demonstrated that your genetic history may play a significant role, as those who have a first-degree relative who suffers from a form of depression often suffer from similar symptoms at a greater rate, than those who do not possess the same genetic background.

Furthermore, there are certain environmental factors that can increase your susceptibility for developing the symptoms of depression. Being subjected to certain adverse circumstances, experiencing significant loss, or suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse can make you more vulnerable to developing depressive symptoms.

Risk factors for depression:

  • Family history of depression or other mental illness
  • Personal history of prior mental illness, such as an anxiety disorder
  • Experiencing stressful life events
  • Suffering from disabling or chronic medical conditions
  • Having adverse experiences during one’s childhood
  • Being the victim of abuse and/or neglect
  • Signs and symptoms of depression

    The symptoms of depression can present themselves differently from one person to the next. Similarly, depending on the particular type of depression that a person is suffering from, the symptoms experienced will vary. Examples of the symptoms that may be experienced by an individual who is suffering from a form of depression can include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Behavioural symptoms:

  • No longer engaging in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Tearfulness
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Decline in academic or occupational performance
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Inability to upkeep day-to-day tasks
  • Physical symptoms:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Diminished appetite
  • Low energy/excessive fatigue
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Psychomotor agitation (being restless or unable to sit still)
  • Psychomotor retardation (slowing of movements)
  • Change in physical appearance/no longer paying attention to grooming or hygiene
  • Mental symptoms:

  • Poor concentration capabilities
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Inability to use proper judgment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Social symptoms:

  • Irritable mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Experiencing unwarranted guilt
  • No longer demonstrating an interest in things or activities that one was previously interested in
  • Effects of depression

    If you are suffering from any type of depression and do not receive treatment, you are susceptible to experiencing further detrimental effects. Without treatment, it is possible that your symptoms may worsen or that you will develop symptoms of other types of mental health concerns.

    You may struggle to perform occupationally or academically, which can negatively impact your health further. You may also find that important relationships have become distant, leaving you feeling somewhat isolated from the world around you.

    It is important to recognise that depression is treatable, and further negative effects can be prevented. By receiving the appropriate support and engaging in available therapeutic interventions, you can live a happier and more fulfilled life.

    Priory can provide many offer psychological treatments (such as cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT]), or antidepressant medication. Different psychological treatment formats include individual and/or group face-to-face psychological treatments.

    Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for moderate-severe depression but are not the first line of treatment for cases of mild depression.

    For help, contact the Priory’s Wellbeing Centre in Dubai or call (+971) 4 245 3800, or you can make a confidential enquiry online at [email protected].

    Authored by Dr Rasha Bassim
    Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai



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