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Monday, 15 October 2012

Cabin crew and depression.

Many of us at one time or another will go through a stage known as "depression". If you have never felt depressed before then you are  not a human being. You are an angel cos angel does not know what is depression about. The word does not exist in an angel's vocabulary. Certainly, angels have feelings and can be angry or stern etc. but their feelings are pure and not like men and women. Click here for more.

I am not an authority on the subject of depression. I am blogging on the subject because I came across an article concerning the 5 Olympic gold medallist swimming champion of Australia and the world, Ian Thorpe. He is 30 years old and has written a book about himself. I was shocked to read that Ian was suffering from depression when he was competing actively and successfully in swimming.
One could not imagine that Ian, a young and one of the world's most successful athletes would succumb to depression. He has contemplated suicides on numerous occasions. Click here to read extract from his new book.

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings, world view and physical well-being.Depressed people may feel sad,anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions and may contemplate or attempt suicide.Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.
Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It is a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions and a side effect of some medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression.

Depression has also plagued the cabin crew. In my 35 years with the airline, I have come across many crew who were crippled by this dreaded sickness. Check with the doctors whom the crew consulted and they will confirm it.

In the case of Ian, depression seemed to be a biological disorder. He was suffering from a young age, a time when most would be happy playing with their friends and enjoying the innocence of childhood.

As for the crew, I suspect it has more to do with the job than anything else. Flying is not only taxing to the body but to the mind as well. It will take a toll on your mental and physical health especially when you get older.
As cabin crew or flight attendant one has to appear friendly and smile even if one does not feel like it. The fake smiles will have psychological consequences. Click here for more information.

Prozac, a drug could be used to treat depression.  Prozac is the brand name for Fluoxetine.
Fluoxetine is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Fluoxetine was first documented in 1974 by scientists from Eli Lilly and Company.It was presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 1977, with Eli Lilly receiving final approval to market the drug in December 1987. Fluoxetine went off-patent in August 2001.
Fluoxetine is approved for the treatment of major depression (including paediatric depression), obsessive-compulsive disorder (in both adult and paediatric populations),bulimia nervosa, panic disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. In addition, fluoxetine is used to treat trichotillomania if cognitive behaviour therapy is unsuccessful.In combination with olanzapine it is known as Symbyax.
Despite the availability of newer agents, fluoxetine remains extremely popular. In 2010, over 24.4 million prescriptions for generic formulations of fluoxetine were filled in the United States alone, making it the third most prescribed antidepressant after sertraline (SSRI; became generic in 2006) and citalopram (SSRI; became generic in 2003).In 2011, 6 million prescriptions for fluoxetine were handed out in the UK
Consult your doctors if you think you need the above medications.


There are at least half a dozen of crew and ex crew who major in the subject of counselling. Most of them had their master degree from Australian universities. These counsellors do not prescribe medications.
I suspect that these counsellors may have been victims of depression at some point of their lives (correct me if I am wrong). Now as counsellors, they are in a better position to understand the mental state of the crew.

Crew should consult these counsellors too if they do feel depressed ( free service). Depression can lead to suicides and irrational behaviour.

A retired pilot who lives down the road to where I am confided in me that his grown up daughter committed suicide about 3 years ago. She was suffering from a severe form of depression called bipolar disorder.

A few crew around my time also committed suicide as a result of being depressed.

BT: Please note if you have a history of depression most probably the airline you seek employment as its cabin crew would reject you.




2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ex CCE Raymond Leong is a practising counsellor at Joo Chiat.

Janis Afflictus said...

What if you have a certificate indicating you have been 'treated' from depression?