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Depression, the leading cause of morbidity and mortality

According to the survey conducted, reports suggest that Indians are the world’s most depressed human beings. Many youngsters and almost all age groups people are addicted to anti-depression apps on their cell phone. You can even see people are stressed out on the streets of Mumbai. Anti-depression market at present is the biggest market in medical scenario. Lifestyle is one of the main reasons among other issue responsible for this psychological problem. According to a World Health Organization-sponsored study, while around 9% of people in India reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from what is called Major Depressive Episode (MDE). MDE is characterised by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, besides feeling depressed.

The study, published in the BMC Medicine journal and based on interviews of more than 89,000 people in 18 different countries by 20 different researchers, says depression affects nearly 121 million people worldwide. It is the second contributor to shorter lifespan for individuals in the 15 – 44 age group.

The percentage of respondents, who had lifetime MDE was higher in high-income (28.1%) than in low to middle-income (19.8%) countries. When it came to lifetime prevalence rates of depression, France (21%) and the US (19.2%) reported the highest rates of depression. Women are twice as likely to suffer depression as men and the loss of a partner, whether from death or divorce, was a main factor, the study reveals.

WHO ranks depression as the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide and projects that by 2020, it will be the second leading cause. Depressions are on arising from day-to-day activities. However, MDE is much more serious. This is the feeling of tremendous helplessness, and worthlessness. Planned suicide is highest among those suffering from MDE. Those suffering from MDE don’t have the strength to conduct day-to-day chores and become dysfunctional. Increased stress, lonely lives and the falling apart of the social support systems, like joint families is a major cause of growing depression among Indians. The study says, average lifetime and 12-month prevalence estimates of MDE were 14.6% and 5.5% in the 10 high-income and 11.1% and 5.9% in the eight low to middle-income countries. The average age of onset ascertained retrospectively was 25.7 in the high-income and 24 in low to middle-income countries.

People are going for meditation, medical help and many even depend on mobile apps, but there is no proof that 85% of the depression apps currently approved in the UK for patients to manage their condition actually work, researchers say.

Approval from the National Health Service (NHS) may falsely reassure patients, many of whom are opting to fund their own treatment in the ace of overstretched mental health services and the associated lengthy waits, researchers said. Until such time as evidence is forthcoming on clinical effectiveness of these apps, and they have been properly evaluated. In reactive online and app based treatments for mental health are becoming popular and accessible as a result of the growing use of smartphones, researchers said. These options need to be “scientifically credible, peer reviewed and evidence based” and should match a validated performance criterion.

Drastic changes in daily life over the past century are fueling the growing burden of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hormone-related and gastrointestinal cancers, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. They are commonly called “diseases of modernism.” As the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, diseases of modernity are the greatest threat to public health in the developed world. If the mismatch between contemporary and historic lifestyles adequately explains increasing lifetime risk of depression in the modern-industrialized world, then depression should be considered a disease of modernity as well.

Depression is certainly not new, though its prevalence throughout human history is unknown. One in 10 Indians are depressed. Depression is one of the biggest public health challenges because of its high incidence. Research worldwide, including India, suggests that at least one in five women and one in 10 men suffers from major depressive disorder at some time in their lifetime.

The neighbour who slams the front door every time, the co-worker who constantly fails to meet deadlines, the teacher whose scathing words never fail to reduce some students to tears every day, the rebellious teenager who smokes despite knowing it’s injurious to health, the friend who is obsessed with alcohol could all have a common cause of depression. Insecurity and intolerance are biggest symptoms of depressions. The vast economic disparity amongst the different sections of population in India is one of the reasons for this problem. No amount of “common-sense” counselling or threat or derision by seniors or colleagues will help a depressed patient. Expert counselling helps in mild cases. Depression happens only in persons having adverse balance of some specific hormones. They only get affected by stress/targets. That is why, medicines work better by restoring hormones balance. This is the time; we need to address these issues more aggressively to save this country from mental illness and less tolerance.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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