Depression and Anxiety Counselling in Malaysia

Depression and Anxiety Counselling in Malaysia

Depression and anxiety are disorders that you may experience at any point in your life. Sometimes, both disorders can manifest separately; however, in most cases, they occur simultaneously. When you have two disorders at the same time, it is known as comorbidity.

In fact, a global survey from 2015 found that almost 41.6% of people have both major depression and anxiety disorder at the same time. 

The major sign of depression includes low moods and feeling hopeless. In contrast, anxiety disorder may have symptoms such as feelings of constant worry, racing thoughts, and fear. 

However, both these disorders share many key signs. For example, people with anxiety and depression may experience irritability. 

Since these disorders appear differently in everyone, you may not always know why you’re feeling the way you do. 

One important thing about depression and anxiety is that they are both treatable with professional help. 

At Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), our Therapists in Malaysia can provide depression counselling and anxiety counselling to improve your mood and feelings. 

Below, we will share more information about the symptoms, causes, and types of depression and anxiety. Further, we also share details about what you can expect from therapy with us. 

Note: At TYHO, we use the term ‘Therapists’ to collectively refer to psychologists, counsellors, and psychotherapists in Malaysia

Symptoms

In this section, we share the key signs of anxiety and depression and some of the overlapping signs that you may experience if you have both mental health conditions. 

If you relate to two or more of the symptoms below, we urge you to seek help from TYHO’s psychologists in Malaysia. Our psychologists can also help conduct diagnostic tests to check for any prevalent disorders.

Symptoms of Depression

You can gain help to manage your low moods and hopelessness through online depression counselling at TYHO.

Your counsellor in Malaysia may use evidence-based tools like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help you regain joy and purpose in your life. 

Below are some of the most common signs of depression: 

Symptoms of Anxiety

Similar to depression, you can gain help to manage your anxious thoughts and emotions through online anxiety counselling in Malaysia. 

As mentioned previously, your anxiety may look completely different from the signs that your friend or acquaintance experiences. Hence, try to notice if you relate to one or more of the symptoms below. 

Anxiety counselling can help if you have signs such as:

Overlapping Symptoms

Do remember that not everyone with anxiety, depression, or both issues may experience the same set of signs given below. 

Some of the common symptoms you may have with either issue could include:

However, with anxiety specifically, you may notice: 

On the other hand, depression could differ in the following ways:

Causes

Causes of Depression

According to research, your depression may not have one single cause. The causes can also differ from person to person. 

For example, some people may be depressed due to a specific traumatic event, such as losing a job or having financial problems. 

On the other hand, some people may have depression due to genetics or physical health issues (eg premenstrual dysphoric disorder). 

If you had a traumatic childhood experience, such as domestic abuse or abandonment, you may be more vulnerable to depression later in life. 

Trauma can usually have a major impact on your self-esteem and can affect how you think and respond to the stimulus in the world. In fact, there is a strong link between trauma and physical health issues as well.

Similarly, on top of the negative experiences, other factors that could cause depression include how we cope with our emotions and what kind of social or community support we have around us. In fact, research conducted in Malaysia shows that social connections and interpersonal relationships have a significant positive relation to improved mental wellness. 

Moreover, other mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, can also trigger symptoms of depression. 

Another factor that might contribute to your depression could be due to poor physical health or if you suffer from any health conditions. 

For example, chronic muscle pain, as experienced in disorders such as thyroid and arthritis and other life-threatening conditions, could significantly change your lifestyle and your mood. 

Lastly, research shows that if anyone in your family has depression, you may be more likely to experience the same condition. 

Depression due to genetics can be caused by our biology or our learned behaviour (eg learning unhelpful coping methods through observation). 

Causes of Anxiety

Anxiety is similar to an old survival tool that is part of our human wiring. Think of it as our ancient ‘fight or flight’ mode. 

For example, if a person was spotted by a dangerous/predatory animal like a tiger, they fled. Yet, if the animal were a fox or wild pig, the person would’ve fought their way through. 

However, today, instead of predators, we face threats from several social and life challenges. Our body still naturally falls back into survival mode during anxiety – which might usually cause signs like nervousness or fear. 

The historical viewpoint might give us a basic idea of why we feel anxious. However, everyone is different, and several factors may play a role in the manifestation of anxiety.

Some of the most common causes of anxiety could include: 

  • Life events: Difficult experiences, like a rough breakup (see: letting go of someone you loved) or dealing with abuse, can cause anxiety.
  • Health issues: Physical health conditions like heart problems or thyroid issues can cause anxiety.
  • Genes: Sometimes, if your family has a history of anxiety, you might be more prone to it.
  • Brain balance: If your brain’s emotional circuits are out of coordination, it might lead to anxiety.
  • Dietary intake: Too much coffee, alcohol, or certain drugs can also cause anxiety.

But remember, the presence of some of these factors does not automatically mean that you have an anxiety disorder. 

Anxiety disorders can usually occur due to a mix of many different factors. Reach out to TYHO counsellors in Malaysia to explore the causes and signs of your anxiety. 

Types

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): If you have MDD, you may feel constantly sad and disinterested in your regular activities. Key signs of MDD could include significant changes in weight and appetite, sleep issues, and chronic fatigue.  

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): PDD was formally known as dysthymia. If you have PDD, you may feel low all the time and find it hard to complete regular and basic tasks such as brushing or taking a bath. Key signs of PDD could include low moods, low self-esteem, and difficulties in concentrating and making decisions. 

Bipolar Disorder: If you have bipolar disorder, you may have extreme mood swings, typically between depressive and manic episodes. During a depressive episode, you may feel sad, tired, hopeless or disinterested in activities. On the other hand, during a manic episode, you may have ‘euphoria’ – where you experience high energy, rapid thoughts, and impulsiveness. 

Postpartum Depression (PPD): You may have PPD during the first year after childbirth. PDD can significantly affect your ability to care for yourself and your child. Key signs could include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and changes in sleep patterns.  

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), where you may have intense mood swings, uncontrollable cravings, and depressive symptoms like feeling sad for no reason and guilt. You may typically notice these symptoms in the weeks leading up to menstruation.  

Other Types of Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): If you live in the northern regions with limited daylight, you might have SAD. The disorder is usually linked to reduced exposure to the sun – which affects serotonin and melatonin levels (both of which regulate mood and sleep). Key signs could include depressive thoughts, social withdrawal, and changes in sleep and appetite.  

Atypical Depression: If you have atypical depression, you may have symptoms such as increased appetite or weight gain, excessive sleep and a heavy feeling in the body. With this disorder, you may notice a balanced/positive mood in response to a favourable situation. 

Types of Anxiety

1. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you have GAD, you might often anticipate disasters, excessively worrying about everyday matters like health, finances, family, or work. 

This kind of chronic worry often lasts for at least six months and can make daily tasks challenging and affect your ability to concentrate and make decisions. 

For example, you might spend hours worrying about things ranging from whether you left the stove on to your performance at work. 

2. Panic Disorder

If you have a panic disorder, you may experience sudden and unpredictable panic attacks. These attacks are episodes of intense fear or worry that can escalate quickly.   

During panic attacks, you might experience symptoms like heavy breathing, sweating, and trembling. You might also feel like you are in constant danger, even when you are safe.  

Panic attacks may be different for everyone. Hence, some of the lesser-known signs of the disorder could also include muscle pain or a tingling sensation when you are in a state of panic.  

The fear of the next attack can be so overwhelming that it might lead you to avoid places or situations that trigger anxiety.  

3. Specific Phobias

You might experience a persistent and irrational fear of a particular object or situation if you have a specific phobia. 

Specific fear is usually disproportionate to the actual danger. For example, you may fear developing a disease even when you are healthy (known as nosophobia) or develop a fear of drowning (thalassophobia) after a negative experience with water. 

The mere thought of the feared object can trigger intense fear. Due to the phobia, you may notice negative impacts in several areas of your life, including social relationships and academic or work performance. 

4. Social Anxiety Disorder

If you suffer from social anxiety, you might feel intense fear, worry, and stress in social situations. 

Your fear could stem from concerns about being judged or perceived negatively by others. 

Unlike shyness, which might not majorly affect your life, social anxiety might stop you from engaging in activities like speaking in groups or eating in front of others. 

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD involves two main symptoms: recurring, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions). 

You might feel compelled to carry out certain routines or rituals. Engaging in these rituals may consume significant time and could affect your daily life.  

For example, if you have OCD, you might feel a need to count to a specific number before work meetings as a way to manage stress or anxiety. You would usually perform this ritual even if you are getting late to the meeting.  

6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

You may have a risk of developing PTSD if you have experienced or seen a traumatic event (eg accidents, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse).  

Common signs of PTSD could include having uncontrollable and disturbing thoughts and feelings about your trauma – even after it is over. These thoughts could manifest as flashbacks, nightmares, or anxiety.   

The symptoms can negatively affect your life, relationships, and sleep patterns. You may also have a comorbidity of other anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety.   

However, PTSD is treatable, and you can book a session with TYHO Therapists in Malaysia to seek help.  

Management

Managing Depression and Anxiety

During depression counselling in Malaysia, you will work with your Therapist to explore the signs and symptoms of depression and how you can best manage the condition.

Your Therapist may use an integrative approach (eg drawing from several tools such as cognitive behavioural therapy and narrative therapy) to help you: 

  • Manage your mood
  • Improve your thinking patterns
  • Feel better about yourself and your life
  • Make and maintain relationships
  • Understand yourself better

Depending on your presenting problems, your Therapist may also use only one approach. Using one tool, such as narrative therapy, could help if your problem involves negative thinking patterns. 

During therapy, you can expect to deal with aspects of your life such as mood, anger, sleep, appetite, communication skills, and coping mechanisms. 

Similarly, during anxiety counselling in Malaysia, your psychotherapist may use acceptance and commitment therapy to:

  • Help you accept your thoughts and feelings without judgement
  • Help you look at your thoughts as mere words rather than universal truths 

For example, if you have social anxiety and find it hard to make new friends, you might believe that you are incapable of making meaningful connections in your life. Thus, you may end up having no friends even though you seek out those connections.  

However, during such cases, your psychotherapist in Malaysia may use ACT tools such as cognitive diffusion to guide you to see this belief as just a thought. 

You would assign a physical object to this thought (eg a balloon) or view it as something that crossed your mind. 

That way, you will soon begin to see the truth and deal with your automatic negative beliefs about yourself and your worth. 

How to Find a Counsellor for Depression & Anxiety?

To find an online counsellor for depression and anxiety, please visit this link: https://app.talkyourheartout.com/

Here, you can filter Therapists based on their gender, service type, medium, and issues they can help with. 

After filtering, you can visit the full profiles of each Therapist in Malaysia to look for someone who matches your needs. 

Here are some key points to look out for:

  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Issues a Therapist can help with
  • Therapeutic approaches
  • Certifications
  • Languages
  • Background

We provide all the above information in the detailed profiles. In addition, you can also watch the short videos of the Therapists to get to know them better. Click the video icon button in a Therapist’s profile to watch their video.

Once you find the right match, please click the ‘Book a Session’ button. Here, you can select the date and medium (eg online audio and video session) to view the price and availability of your preferred Therapist. 

Create an account with TYHO to make your booking. Once booked, you will receive an immediate booking confirmation through email and via your TYHO dashboard. 

You can also view and manage all your therapy sessions on your account dashboard. 

Note: You can buy session packages to book sessions at a discounted rate. Visit our pricing page to know more.  

Please also note that at TYHO, we have Therapists who offer both online audio and video sessions in Malaysia. Look out for in-person sessions as well, as we are introducing offline sessions soon. 

Contact us via email at [email protected] or WhatsApp us (click the icon in the bottom right) if you need help selecting a Therapist or have any questions. 

What to Expect

During the few initial therapy sessions, you can expect to build a therapeutic relationship with your psychologist in Malaysia

Developing a positive therapeutic alliance plays a significant role in experiencing positive therapy outcomes. 

Once you begin to open up and feel comfortable during sessions, your psychologist may ask you questions to get to know you better. 

You can expect questions related to your:

  • Family history
  • Medical history
  • Childhood experiences
  • Past or current relationships
  • Presenting signs and symptoms
  • History of family mental health

Your honest answers to the above questions may give your psychologist a complete picture of what you are going through – which can, in turn, help the professional devise a personalised therapeutic plan.

The therapeutic plan could include details such as therapeutic approaches used and your psychologist’s clinical impressions. 

After a few sessions, you can also share your feedback about therapy and techniques that helped you best. 

If your Therapist suspects that you may be struggling with some other mental health issue, they may even conduct a psychological assessment to diagnose. 

During therapy, you will set realistic goals (personal and therapy goals) that you want to achieve. 

After this, your Therapist in Malaysia will use approaches and solution-focused tools to help you achieve your goals. 

Please note that the process of therapy is usually the same for anxiety counselling and depression counselling. 

All Therapists at TYHO have the required qualifications (a minimum of master’s in counselling) and are empathic, open-minded, and understanding of multicultural experiences. 

Hence, be assured that all your online sessions are also strictly non-judgmental and confidential. 

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