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Depression: a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected

Depression: a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected

Kolkata, Dec 21 (UNI) Depression is a common illness worldwide, with

more than 300 million people affected.

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. At its worst, depression can lead to

suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide

is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

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 burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the

rise globally. A World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 has

called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at

country level.

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive

episode can be categorized 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 (i.e. over an extended period of time) with relapses,

especially if they go untreated.

Recurrent depressive disorder: this disorder involves repeated

depressive episodes. During these episodes, the person experiences

depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy

leading to diminished activity for at least two weeks.

Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms,

disturbed sleep and appetite and may have feelings of guilt or low self-

worth, poor concentration and even medically unexplained symptoms.

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive

episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.

An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in

continuing with ordinary work and social activities, but will probably not

cease to function completely.

During a severe depressive episode, it is very unlikely that the sufferer

will be able to continue with social, work, or domestic activities, except

to a very limited extent.

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