Sunday, 9 September 2007

Depression 'damages health more'

Depression 'damages health more'

Depression does greater damage to a person's overall health than long-term physical diseases, according to scientific research.

Mental illness has more impact on sufferers general well-being than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes, a paper published in medical journal The Lancet concluded.

Saba Moussavi, of the World Health Organisation, and his colleagues said depression needed to be addressed as a public health priority.

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 indicating worst health and 100 indicating best health, sufferers of depression had an average score of 72.9.

This compared with 80.3 for asthmatics, 79.6 for angina sufferers, 79.3 for arthritis sufferers and 78.9 for those with diabetes.

Previous studies have ranked depression as having the biggest disabling effect of any disease worldwide.

The mental disorder often comes hand-in-hand with other chronic illnesses, and as the world's population lives longer, it is expected to become more and more common.

In 2000 scientists rated depression as the disease which had the fourth greatest public health impact globally.

By 2020 it is predicted to have jumped to second place.

At some point in their life it is estimated that around one in every five women and one in every 10 men will suffer from depression.

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