Depression Is The Leading Cause Of Illness And Disability Worldwide: WHO

Posted: Apr 1 2017, 12:50pm CDT | by , Updated: Apr 1 2017, 12:54pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Depression is the Leading Cause of Illness and Disability Worldwide, WHO
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More than 300 million people are suffering from depression worldwide with an increase of 18 percent in just a decade

Depression is now the leading cause of illness and disability worldwide, according to latest World Health Organization (WHO) report.

There has been a significant increase in the prevalence of depression in people of all group ages in recent years. An estimated 300 million people are suffering from depression worldwide, representing an increase of around 18% between 2005 and 2015. In United States alone, about 14 million adults are affected by depression in a given year. Of those, many are not getting proper treatment. Lack of support from others, coupled with fear of stigma or shame prevents a great majority of people from seeking professional help, leading to suicide attempts, deaths and disabilities.

“These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves. The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Many people who experience depressive symptoms do not believe they are actually suffering from depression and require medical attention. Even if they are diagnosed with depression and are willing to deal with their disorder, there is not much proper support or treatment available for them. In developed countries, nearly 50 percent of people with depression do not receive treatment. The situation is even worse for less developed countries where percentage sours up to 90 percent. On average, just 3 percent of government budget is invested in mental health. So, another crucial step is to increase investment and access to treatment, which will in turn improve productivity.

According to WHO, depression costs around $1 trillion annually. Similarly, every dollar in closing the gap between depression and treatment leads to a return of $4 in healthy and productive lives.

Depression is often accompanied by feelings of sadness and fatigue, loss of interest in normal activities, sleep disturbance, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, difficulty with concentration and suicidal thoughts.

Depression is most commonly treated by antidepressants and psychotherapy or a combination of two. A timely and effective treatment of depression can help save many lives and even entire families.

“A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning,” said Dr Saxena. “What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even in the most remote populations in the world.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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