Depression a leader in global disability


The most recent and comprehensive estimates on how much death and disability is attributable to depression worldwide has been released through a study published in PLOS Medicine.

Depression affects more women than men

As one would expect, the rates and ranking among all causes of disability varied by country and by region. Rates are highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan. Depression ranks first among disabilities in Central American and Central and Southeast Asia. Depression as a disability affects more people in their working years and more women than men.

Data pulled from all over the world

Authors of the study, led by Alize Ferrari from the University of Queensland and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, brought together relevant data from all published research studies on major depressive disorder (MDD), and dysthymia, a milder form of depression. They created a standard measure of disease burden called “disability-adjusted life years” or DALYs. It was calculated by adding together “years lived with a disability” (YLD) and “years lost because of disease-specific premature death” (YLL).

Second leading cause of global disability

When compared to other disease, depression ranked as the second leading cause of global disability and eleventh leading cause of global burden (or DALYs) in 2010. However, depression does not always operate alone and contributes to other conditions including suicide and ischemic heart disease. When that is calculated, depression moves up to the eighth leading cause of global burden.

A global health priority

According to the report, these results “not only highlight the fact that depressive disorders are a global health priority but also that it is important to understand variations in burden by disorder, country, region, age, sex, and year when setting global health objectives. “

Source: MedicalNewsToday, PLOS Medicine

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