Depression is not a rare disease. It is very common in general population. Around 9.5% of adultU.S.population has some form of depressive disorder (The Numbers Count: Mental Illness inAmerica) and the figures are as high as 15% in the developing world (World Health Organization (WHO) report, 2001). It has even been predicted that depression will be the second largest contributor to mortality rates by 2020 (World Health Organization (WHO) report, 2001). Depression has now been recognized as the leading cause of disability all around the world.
The epidemiology of depression is not limited to any particular age group or ethnicity. It is a global problem which is treatable but still it is under diagnosed. Depression is more common in women than in men. It has been found that prevalence of depression in women (6.5%) is twice that of men (3.3%). The lifetime incidence of depression is around 12% in men and 20% in women (RC, 2003). The average age of onset of depression is early adulthood but it is also common in children and adolescents. Approximately 2.5% of the children and 8.3% of adolescents suffer from depression during their childhood and adolescence. Elderly population is highly susceptible to develop depression. The prevalence of depression in elderly population is 1-2% with subclinical depression reaching as high as 27% (National Healthcare Quality Report, 2003).
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