Monday, August 20, 2012

Depression: The Global Problem

For a long time, due to cultural & religious differences, it has often been thought that depression & anxiety was mainly a Western problem with Eastern cultures being little affected. A recent study published by researchers from The University of Queensland seems to debunk this theory.

In the worlds most comprehensive study of anxiety & depression to date, researchers in two separate studies into anxiety disorders & major depression disorder (clinical depression) found that surveys of clinical anxiety & depression have been conducted across 91 countries involving more than 480,000 people.

These studies show that anxiety & depression are major problems across the globe, regardless of culture, race or religion.

Anxiety issues were shown to be more common among  Western cultures with up to 10% of the population being affected in North America, Australia, New Zealand & Western Europe, compared to 8% in the Middle East and 6% in Asia.

The opposite appears to be true with depression where it was lowest in North America and higher in the Middle East and some Asian countries. In Asian and Middle Eastern countries such as India & Afghanistan depression rates are as high as 9% compared to about 4% in Western countries & East Asian countries such as China, Indonesia & Thailand.

Lead author on the depression study Alize Ferrari said findings suggested that depression appeared to be higher in regions of the world where conflict is occurring. She also warned that obtaining good data from low & middle income countries can be difficult.

Amanda Baxter, lead author on the anxiety study echo's the difficulty of getting good data from some regions & urged caution when comparing mental disorders across different countries. 'Measuring mental disorders across different cultures is challenging because many factors can influence the reported prevalence of anxiety disorders.' said Ms Baxter. 'More research is also needed to ensure that the criteria we are currently using to diagnose anxiety is suitable for people across all cultures.'

The studies also found:

  • Both major depression & anxiety are more commonly found in women than men.
  • While depression is common throughout the lifespan, anxiety becomes less common in those over 55.
  • About 1 in 21 (4.7%) of people will have major depression at any point in time.
  • Anxiety, the most common of mental illnesses, currently affects about 1 in 13 (7.3%).
SOURCE: The University of Queensland, Australia

The information contained in this blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment