herald

Thursday 26 April 2018

Is Celtic Tiger cause of your depression?

A NEW type of severe depression directly linked to the mental strain felt by the Celtic Tiger entrepreneurs who are now in financial trouble has been identified by doctors.

The symptoms, including suicidal thoughts, strike suddenly and are directly linked to the collapse in finances.

It causes serious domestic and personal stress for which they pile the blame on themselves, the research shows.

Doctors at St Patrick's Hospital in Dublin and the Department of Psychiatry in Trinity College said sufferers have severe depression associated with the economic recession – and are a high suicide risk.

Relapse

But they tend to recover faster than other patients suffering their first depression – and are less likely to relapse.

Dr Thekiso B Thekiso, one of the lead authors, said: "The new breed of Celtic Tiger depressives are often great entrepreneurs who have an internal locus of control – they tend to blame themselves for their problems.

"Some with an external locus of control would blame the economic collapse."

The findings revealed:

* Celtic Tiger patients are mostly male and more severely depressed with more marked suicidal thoughts;

* the number of admissions due to "first time "depression is higher in recession years 2009/10 than in 2008/2009;

* they have a better chance of recovery and are less likely to suffer a recurrence.

Disorders

The doctors, whose study is in the Journal of Affective Disorders, point out there has been a dearth of research detailing the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with recession-related mood disorders.

Psychiatrist Dr Noel Kennedy said sufferers have different symptoms to "classical" depressives and may not ever have been referred were it not for the economic collapse.

He added: "We know many people who die by suicide end their lives because they feel so hugely responsible for the situation they find themselves in.

"This study highlights the positive outcome for those who seek help and allows us to emphasise that recovery is possible."

The report stressed that while there was no age differences between the depressives and the new patients, the Celtic Tiger sufferers are more likely to be from a higher social class.

hnews@herald.ie

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