November 03, 2015 12:53
Some 525,000 people were hospitalized for depression last year, up 70,000 from 2010. Given that Koreans are often reluctant to see psychiatrists, the actual number of people suffering from depression is estimated to be much higher.
Symptoms of depression include low spirits, marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, feelings of either apathy or agitation, loss of energy, inability to concentrate or make decisions, and frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
People with serious emotional stress at work, especially in the service industries where they deal with customers directly, have a high risk of developing depression. According to a study of 5,771 workers by Prof. Kim In-ah at Yonsei University, depression was more prevalent among people who suppress their emotions at work.
Men and women under severe emotional stress were 3.4 times and 3.9 times more likely to become depressed, and 3.7 times and 2.9 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
"People need to see a doctor if they continue to feel depressed even when they are not at work, and they repeatedly make mistakes due to a loss of concentration, " said Prof. Ha Ji-hyun at Konkuk University.
The government on Monday said it is mulling ways of compensating workers who suffer constant emotional stress at work and fall ill.
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