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SPECIALTIES & SERVICES

Psychological Medicine


Depression, anxiety, bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) are psychological conditions commonly seen in our community. Here in KTPH, we provide comprehensive treatment and management for these psychological conditions. We have a dedicated multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, medical social workers and occupational therapists. Services are available for children, adolescents, adults and aged persons.

We are interested in getting to know you and to find out about the issues you are facing. You can expect to be listened to and understood. After the assessment, an individualised treatment plan is prepared for you. This may include laboratory investigations, medication, psychoeducation, social work or psychotherapy. It is important to us that you are involved in the treatment planning and are comfortable with the recommended treatment.

Appointment hotline: 6555 8828


Forensic and Medico-legal Assessment

  • Occupational Assessment and Recommendation
  • Intellectual (IQ) Assessment
  • Dementia Screening
  • Neuropsychological Assessment

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology Service sees children of all ages for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, emotional disorders, behaviour problems, anxiety, depression, school refusal and other psychiatric conditions.  The psychology service includes:

  • IQ tests
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Diagnostic testing for autism and Asperger's Syndrome
  • Child psychotherapy for a wide variety of problems including developmental problems


Depression

Depression is a 'whole body' illness. Depression affects the way one thinks and feels about themself, others and the world.  Depression affects a person’s physiology, sleep, mood, thoughts and behaviour. Depression is known as common cold of mental illness and one of the most undiagnosed mental disorders as well as the most lethal. (6 % of untreated depressive episodes result in suicide attempts).

Clinical depression is more than just a low mood – it is a serious illness. Clinical depression can last for weeks, months and even years. Subtle changes in the brain’s chemistry can affect every dimension of a person and cause depression. Specialists say that depression is influenced by genetic as well as environmental factors.

People with depression find it hard to function every day and may be reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed. Although it can be effectively treated, majority of people with depression do not seek help because the individual is deterred by the stigma associated with a diagnosis of mental illness. Treatment for depression is effective and involves are combination of medications and psychotherapy.

Insomnia

Insomnia is the most common type of sleep disorder. Insomnia may come and go (episodic), can last up to 3 weeks at  time (short-term ) or be long-lasting (chronic). Insomnia takes a toll on one’s energy, mood and ability to function during the day.

Mental health issues as well as physical and social issues can also affect sleep patterns and cause insomnia. People who have mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, sadness, depression, physical pain or stress experience insomnia. Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem such as stress, anxiety, depression or an underlying health condition. Insomnia can also be caused by lifestyle choices such as caffeine intake, going to bed at irregular times at night, poor sleeping environment, working late shifts, lack of exercise, watching TV in bed, and even using gadgets such as smartphones and laptops in bed.

People suffering from insomnia feel restless, frustrated, tired and have difficulty concentrating on their work. Insomnia can be cured by making lifestyle changes and adopting good habits and sleep hygiene.

Stress

Stress is a normal physical response to an abnormal situation that threatens or upsets one’s balance in some way.

Stress is caused by both internal and external factors. Stress can come from any event or thought that makes one feel frustrated, angry or nervous. Some other common factors of stress are: major life changes, problems at work, relationship difficulties, financial problems and family issues.

Common features of stress are as follows; breathing becomes more rapid, the digestive system slows down, the heart rate or pulse rises, the immune system goes down, the muscles become tense and the person is unable to sleep and is in a heightened state of alertness.  Stress, when left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. There are many ways to manage stress by adapting some healthy habits and making certain lifestyle changes.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD is a kind of anxiety disorder characterised by having obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions in OCD are thoughts, impulses or images that are involuntary, seemingly uncontrollable and occur repeatedly in the affected person’s mind. Compulsions are behaviours or rituals that drive the person with OCD to act out repeatedly to gain relief.

People with OCD seem to have irrational behaviour that is beyond their control. Usually, these OCD compulsions are performed in an attempt to make the obsessions go away. However, the relief is temporary and obsessive thoughts usually come back stronger. For a person suffering from OCD, these thoughts and behaviours cause tremendous distress, take up a lot of time, and interfere with daily life and relationships.

While the onset of OCD usually occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, younger children sometimes show symptoms. The cause of OCD is not clear. Changes in the balance of some brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin may play a role. Studies show that there may be some genetic element to OCD as well. OCD can be helped to a great extent by treatment such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) as well as suitable medication by psychologists and psychiatrists respectively.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders that can continue on into adolescence and adulthood. Inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or combinations of any of the two or three are the key behaviours of ADHD in children. For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, these symptoms must be out of the normal range for a child’s age and development. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood. It affects 3-5 % of school-aged children.

Depression, lack of sleep, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and behaviour problems may also accompany ADHD. Examples of some symptoms in children with ADHD may be that they have difficulty finishing school work or performing tasks that require concentration (inattention); they may have trouble sitting still during dinner (hyperactivity), and may be have difficulty waiting for their turn in games (impulsivity).

ADHD can be diagnosed in children after they have been evaluated by a psychiatrist. Parent and teacher questionnaires, psychological evaluation as well as a complete developmental examination are included in the evaluation of ADHD. Treatment of ADHD is a partnership between the healthcare provider, parents and the child with ADHD. A combination of medication and behavioural treatment works best for people with ADHD.

Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.
Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. There are various combinations of factors that contribute to autism such as genetics, vaccine sensitivity, diet, and the body’s inability to properly use vitamins and minerals. Some other developmental disorders of autism are Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Most parents of children with autism recognise that something is wrong with them by the time the child is 18 months old. Children with autism may have difficulties with pretend play, social interactions as well as verbal and non-verbal communication. A complete evaluation of autism can be done by a health care professional through a complete physical and neurological examination as well as using a screening tool. The child will be evaluated for autism in terms of their communication, language, motor skills, speech, and success at school as well as thinking abilities.

Anxiety

Anxiety disorder is a feeling of nervousness, apprehension, fear, or worry that may occur without a cause, or it may occur based on a real situation but may be out of proportion to what would normally be expected. Severe anxiety or mood disorders can have a serious impact on daily life.

The problem of anxiety is quite common and may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or from a combination of these. In order for anxiety disorder to be diagnosed, other medical causes must be ruled out. Conditions as varied as anemia, asthma attack, infection, drug intoxication or withdrawal, or a number of heart conditions are just a few examples of medical problems that can be associated with anxiety.

Common types of anxiety are panic anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), phobic disorders, OCD, stress and so on. Signs and symptoms of anxiety are characterised by certain emotional and behavioural ways of thinking that are responses to feeling as if one is in danger.

Suitable treatment for anxiety involves some combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation therapy, psychotherapy and /or medication.

 



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