The questions below were raised by visitors to the STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print) website in the AskST section of the website. eMenders doctors provided the answers to the questions raised as a public health education project. The information provided below is of a general nature and should not be treated as a replacement for medical advice. You should seek consultation from a medical or healthcare professional about your specific medical condition.


Being rigid and sticking to familiar things or people are often seen in introverted individuals and people with obsessive tendencies. Other possible diagnoses include social phobias, anxiety and depression. A degenerative process could cause similar symptoms in older individuals.

As the information is brief, please call 1800-7389595 (Mount Elizabeth Charter Services) for a free assessment by a counselor. The counselor may then refer you for further assessments either at a public or private institution.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.

We are unaware of either a formal or informal adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) group in Singapore.

There are many support groups and resources on ADD that are available on the Internet. One example is the Attention Deficit Disorder Association. This is a US-based organization but you may be able to find useful information on the website. There are also several internet groups for adult ADD including a Yahoo! Health Group on Adults withADD/ADHD.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.

Sensitivity to high pitched sounds accompanied by headaches is indicative of anxiety and high stress levels. Likely sources of stress could run the gamut – tests, examinations, competitions.

Further investigation is needed with respect to your description that your son is hearing sounds that you cannot hear.

If they are just sounds, what type are they? Do they occur in daylight or when he is asleep? How often does he hear them, and when did this start? On the other hand, does he hear voices as well?

In this case tinnitus (high pitched but not audible to others) may be excluded. Tinnitus suffers often experience intense mental distress and tension accompanying high pitched sounds.

Hallucinations are a possibility but voices heard would provide far more significant evidence for this than sounds heard- whatever the pitch.

You are welcome to arrange for a consultation with an eMenders neurologist about your sons problem. We feel that consulting a psychiatrist at this stage would be premature, and would cause you and your son unnecessary worry.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.

The boy is fine as long as he is confident and able to make friends. The actions described could be due to your Obsessive Compulsive Behavior, mentioned above, which makes it difficult to accept the childs own mumbling and blinking of eyes. However, do remember that the child is only eight years old and actions such as scolding, bribing and threatening have the potential to make the blinking worse as it is aggravated by anxiety or fear.

It is advisable to seek a counselors help. An appointment can be made with Ms. Jessica Leong at 963 222 46. If needed, she will make a referral to a psychiatrist. However, in most cases, it is not required.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.

All over-the-counter anti-stress tablets (i.e. without a doctors prescription) are mostly vitamins and minerals in various combinations.

One will not become addicted by taking these anti-stress tablets daily. The benefits are mainly placebo or psychological in nature.

It is usually not necessary to take anti-stress pills if one is taking a balanced diet.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.

Phobias, like the one mentioned above, are specific and can respond to behavior therapy.

Students can seek effective and subsidized treatment at the Child Guidance Clinic of Singapore General Hospital. One can contact the clinic at 6435 3847 to make an appointment with either Dr Cai Yimin or Dr Daniel Fung.

Contributed by Dr Tan Chue Tin, eMenders Psychiatrist.