Depression in Tokyo and Japan
No one moves to another country to become depressed. This is true too for the over 2,000,000 people of overseas origin or descent who are living and working in the Tokyo Metropolis and Japan as a whole. The reasons and motives of the people who have made this move and commitment to living in Tokyo and Japan are as varied and numerous as the number of people themselves. Whatever the diversity of your cultural heritage and whatever your professional aims and social aspirations, one thing that you have in common is the hope to live a happy, successful and fulfilling life in Japan. However, as many of those living in Japan reading this article will be only too well aware, the stress involved in working and leading a full life in this fast paced hi-tech society in Japan can at times be overwhelming for even the strongest and most resilient of individuals. If you are currently living in the Tokyo Metropolis or another one of the cities and towns in Japan as one of the 126,000, 000 residents of Japan you will already be familiar with this kind of stress emotionally and psychologically draining. Depression is an illness that affects people of all ages and all social and economic backgrounds. The rate of depression in Japan has been estimated to be at 1 in 10 of the people at any one time, with the highest rates of depression being reported in the densely populated urban areas.
How to recognize Depression in yourself or others
If you think that you yourself or someone you know and care about may be suffering from depression the following list of possible indications and symptoms of clinical depression to look for in yourself or in someone you know may be of help. It is important to note that the in the case of people suffering from relatively less severe forms of depression such as those termed 'mild depression', 'moderate depression' and dysthymia do not necessarily have to have all of these indications or symptoms in order to be considered as having clinical depression:
Lacking interest in the activities and interests you usually enjoy most, for example not getting any positive effects or enjoyment when listening to your favourite music.
A loss of your appetite or enjoyment of your food may be an indication of depression. On the other hand some people may eat more than usual and put on weight.
Sleeping badly with shallow sleep or insomnia or sleeping for excessively longer periods of time (hyperinsomnia) than your normal sleeping pattern.
Still feeling tired, ‘heavy’ or without your usual sense of “get up and go” after you wake up.
Experiencing inexplicable feelings of fatigue or loss of energy as you go through your usual daily routine.
For some people depression may be associated with feeling low and depressed when you wake up every day, which may lessen as the day progresses but sometimes may not people.
For other people depression may manifest itself in feeling a little low in the mornings and with a growing deepening of this feeling into more depression during the day and feeling more and depressed as day draws to an end.
Not calling or emailing your friends for family as often as you used to or usually would.
Feeling sad, unhappy or miserable without any specific cause or reason for feeling so.
Feeling hopeless and negative about your future.
Feeling emotionally ‘empty’ or not feeling anything
Lacking your usual level of self-confidence and a lowering of your self-image and self-esteem.
What to do if you feel you are in depression or feel worried or fearful that you are at risk of falling into depression?
If you think or feel you are, or may be, suffering with clinical depression the sooner you go for treatment and counseling the better. The longer you delay in getting professional help and medical opinion then it can affect the time it takes for you to recover and get better again. It is important to note that in Japan only medical doctors/psychiatrists who are licensed by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour are legally allowed to diagnose, treat and prescribe or recommend medication for the treatment of clinical depression or any other kind of mental disorder or illness. Clinical Psychologists and JCP qualified Psychotherapists in Japan can and do provide psychological and social support in the form of counseling and psychotherapy. If you are already under the medical supervison of a doctor/pscyhiatrist and think you may benefit from counseling or psychotherapy then you should first consult with your doctor to discuss whete she or he feels it would be okay to do so in parallel with or after a period of medical treatment. If you feel you are, or possibly may be, clinically depressed, then go now as soon as you can to see and talk about how you are feeling with a psychiatrist who is licensed in Japan. There are over 13,000 througout Japan. However you may usually feel about taking medication, talking with a Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare nationally licensed doctor/psychiatrist (there are over 270,000 dotors throughout Japan) will give you a professional opinion, diagnosis and assesment of your condition and an understanding of what are your treatment options are to help you recover and get out of depression as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How can I find a Psychiatrist in Tokyo and Japan legally licensed by the Ministry of Heath, Labour and Welfare to treat me for depression?
If you feel think you could be suffering from Clinical Depression or you feel depressed to the point where you feel consulting with a license doctor or psychiatrist to talk together and get her/his opinion on your condition and as to whether a course of medication could be of benefit to you then you should as soon go to see a doctor as soon as possible. This is not as difficult as you may think as there are in fact over 13,000 psychiatrists practicing in community based psychiatric clinics (usually non-bed medical facillities that see patients on an 'out-patient' basis) and hospitals throughout Japan. who hold the national license to practice medicine by passing the national licensing examinations as is legally required in Japan.
Naturally for people who have not learned Japanese before coming to Japan they can of course experience difficulties, here are some contact details for other counseling and medical information centers to help them:AMDA International Medical Information Center:
"In multiple languages, we introduce medical facilities with staff who speak the patients' languages and explain the Japanese Health Care System."
Tokyo/Kanto region TEL : 03-5285-8088 - Kansai region TEL: 06-4395-0555
Himari - Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center
Information about medical services in English and other languages: 03-5285-8181
Emergency translation services in English and other languages: 03-5285-8185
Useful Links in Japanese:
How to Find a JSCCP Approved Counseling Center Throughout Japan
(This is the web version of the JSCCP publication: "Rinshoushinrishi deau tame ni" which gives information, addresses and contact details of all JSCCP Approved Counseling Centers and private clinical practices of registered Clinical Psychologists in Japan.)
"Depression in Tokyo and Japan"
Copyright © Andrew Grimes Tokyo Counseling Services 2010 ~