…but for those who suffer from it, “in your head” can be more debilitating than other chronic, painful illnesses. A massive WHO survey study of 60 countries reported that 3.2% of people had depression over the course of a year. Interestingly, though…
This was a bit lower than for asthma (3.3 percent), arthritis (4.1 percent), and angina (4.5 percent), and higher than for diabetes (2.0 percent.)
But the results of a quality-of-life index called the “global mean health score” showed that depression was, by a significant margin, the most difficult to bear.
The most difficult to bear, and also quite prevalent.
The study, published in the British journal The Lancet, says that depression accounts for the greatest share of non-fatal disease burden, accounting for almost 12 percent of total years lived with disability worldwide.
The researchers called on doctors around the world to be more alert in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition, noting that it is fairly easy to recognize and treat.
They also note that even if the prevalence of depression is similar to the four other chronic physical diseases, the lifetime risk — the number of people who cycle in and out of depression — is five to 10 times greater.
As the article says, depression is pretty easy to identify. Educating doctors and the public about the warning signs is a simple thing, but getting people to stop looking away isn’t.
I think it’s pretty obvious that we, as a society, need to step up and remove the stigma associated with mental health issues. Not only are they as prevalent as so-called “real” diseases and disorders, more people will experience them at some point in their lives. Every facet of life is affected too, from rearing children to personal health to productivity at work, which may not necessarily be the case with a physical disorder. National health care system, I’m looking at you….