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| 19 April, 2018

Single expats in Oman prone to 'situational depression', expert says

Depression is on the rise globally

A man holds the antidepressant drug Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, in Leicester, central England February 26, 2008 in this posed photograph.  
Image used for illustrative purposes.

A man holds the antidepressant drug Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, in Leicester, central England February 26, 2008 in this posed photograph. Image used for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Darren Staples

Single expats suffering from depression in Oman should focus on integration and cultural diversity to combat their symptoms, according to a specialist.

Speaking to the Times of Oman, Dr. Dora Komos, a specialist at Whispers of Serenity, said, "Situational depression is more typical among expats, because the new life in a different country can cause some adaptation problems. Single expats and married couple are facing a new experience where the previous adaptation skills that they acquired through their socialisation might not work as well as before. This experience for some people might cause stress."

"Being far from home and family it is a difficult condition, where people need to activate their social skills to find new people and develop familiarity in a new environment. It requires, also, a change in the mindset of people, accepting cultural differences far from their usual point of view."

"A single expat might feel adaptation difficulties even more, because he/she has to face loneliness at a greater extent without support, while managing everyday stress — becoming a harder task for them. For singles living abroad, looking for a new partner could be an issue as well if they are looking for someone with the same cultural background to them."

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"Frustration can arise if they want to start up a new family and they cannot find the right person for it, leading to low self-esteem and worthless feeling."

"All these reasons make expats more vulnerable for depression."

"In Oman, greater cultural differences, not speaking the local language, might increase feelings of isolation among expats. The feeling of being different could develop feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, seeing integration as an impossible mission."

"However, greater is the challenge, greater could be the outcome of such an integration, finding common ground, and respecting cultural diversity"

Global trend

Depression is on the rise globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with more than 300 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. In severe cases, depression can lead to suicidal behaviour and even death.

Although there are known, effective treatments for depression, figures from the WHO reveal that fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10 per cent) receive such treatments.

Dr. Komos added, "Again new forms of adaptation are required to find new inputs and activities to not lose interest and pleasure in their everyday life. Appreciation for outdoor activities for example could be a new input for some of the expats."

She also advised family members to look out for a host of warning signs including low mood, loss of interest in everyday activities, persistent sadness, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, change in appetite, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, as well as suicidal thoughts.

She concluded by saying,"Mental flexibility, positive attitude, discovering new activities and hobbies could help in case of a mild situational depression. In case the symptoms are persistent and don`t improve within three months is better to contact a mental health professional."

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