Depression: No Big
Problem, Right? Wrong!
How big a problem is
depression in terms of diseases? Other health problems such as AIDS,
heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are much bigger problems, right?
Wrong. If you look at the
impact of depression on disability, very interesting facts emerge. Let
explain how these figures are calculated. Imagine a 20 year old woman
chronic depression that causes her to be 1/3 disabled for the next 60
That means she loses the equivalent of 20 years of life, which is the
if a healthy woman died at age 60 instead of the normal lifespan of 80.
When disability from
depression is calculated this way, the figures are astounding. The
Organization looked at this information around the world. They found
the year 2020 only heart disease will exceed the disability caused by
depression. Even in 1990, depression was already the number one cause
disability within the major chronic diseases of midlife. Major
accounted for almost 20 percent of disability- adjusted life years lost
women in the developed countries. This was more than three times the
caused by the next illness.
Other studies looked at
impact of depression in the workplace. In the
Just how common is
depression? There are many studies and
they often disagree, but the best studies suggest that about 16 percent
Americans will suffer a major depression over their lifetime. That is
in 6 Americans. Look around at your friends and family and co-workers,
1 in 6 of
them will suffer a major depression. In any given year, between 6-7
suffer major depression.
And depression has major
health implications. Studies that look at elderly people find that
increases the risk of death very significantly, independent of suicide.
study found that elderly people who were depressed were 40 percent more
to die than those who were undepressed. When they analyzed the data to
the cause was, they found that even when you controlled for all other
behaviors and other factors, depression still accounted for 24 percent
in deaths. This was the equivalent of high blood pressure, smoking,
congestive heart failure.
depression is no big
deal? Not unless you consider major disability, huge workplace effects,
shortened life no big deal! In reality, depression is one of the most
diseases that human beings suffer. If you or someone you
love is depressed, take it seriously and get help!
Copyright © 2006 Andrew Gottlieb
All Rights Reserved