More women suffer from depression than men:WHO

An estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally with  more women being affected by the mental disorder than men, the World Health Organisation said.    The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally.
‘’Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Depression is a common mental disorder and is the leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. More women are affected by depression than men,’’ the WHO said.
Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma) are more likely to develop depression.
Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction and worsen the affected person’s life situation.
There are interrelationships between depression and physical health. For example, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression and vice versa.    Prevention programmes have been shown to reduce depression.     Effective community approaches to prevent depression include school-based programmes to enhance a pattern of positive thinking in children and adolescents. Interventions for parents of children with behavioural problems may reduce parental depressive symptoms and improve outcomes for their children.
Exercise programmes for the elderly can also be effective in depression prevention.
‘’At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds,’’ the Organisation said. 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.
Although there are known, effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10 per cent) receive such treatments.           Barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders.
Another barrier to effective care is inaccurate assessment.           In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.   The Organisation said depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be categorised as mild, moderate, or severe.
A key distinction is also made between depression in people who have or do not have a history of manic episodes.     Both types of depression can be chronic (that is over an extended period of time) with relapses, especially if they go untreated.
Psychosocial treatments are also effective for mild depression. Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for moderate-severe depression but are not the first line of treatment for cases of mild depression.    They should not be used for treating depression in children and are not the first line of treatment in adolescents, among whom they should be used with caution, the Organisation said. (UNI)


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