Depression as “pathological sadness”

Experts insist that the recognition and diagnosis of depression should be improved. Among the reasons is lack of time in the clinical interview, the highest assistance demand among physicians in primary and specialty care, masking of symptoms and absence of specific laboratory tests or biomarkers.

A huge number of people were diagnosed with depression in 2014 all over the world and the figures suggest that its prevalence is increasing, especially due to the crisis. In fact according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it will be the leading cause of disability in 2030. Depression is a challenge for public health and is among the top three causes of disability and generates individual, family and social high costs. In US it represents one of the leading causes of productivity loss, early retirement and absence from work due to illness and it grows every year.

The risk of the general population to develop at least one episode severe throughout life depression is almost double in women (16%) than men (9%). According to data collected in the “Strategy of Mental Health NHS” US have the highest rates of depressive symptoms in elderly population.

This “pathological sadness” while making a great social burden entails another problem: psychiatric disorders, including depression and are considered as stigmatizing diseases. The repercussion suffer a depression is devastating in many vital areas and also difficult to understand who has never had the disease. The loss of self-esteem and negative and guilty consideration about yourself paint a picture in which there is no room for any positive feelings or to hold a minimum quality of life and sense of well-being. It is an epidemic phenomenon and some elements affect you are registering an exponential growth in the coming decades will be the leading cause of disability. Among the causes of this increase, experts talk of increased life expectancy, the highest level of stress in Western societies and substance abuse are some of the factors behind this growth. A study led in patients attending primary care between 2007 and 2011 detected a 11% increase in anxiety disorders or depression, which were closely related to mortgage problems or unemployment.

Depression is also ‘the great gateway’ to suicidal behavior. Suicide is related to a variety of serious mental disorders and, in the case of depression, the risk is 21 times higher than the general population. The prevalence rate of suicide is in the range of 6.8-7 per 100,000 inhabitants.

This means about 10 suicide deaths each day, the leading cause of unnatural death. Therefore, psychiatry believes that we must establish an emergency plan for suicide prevention, as was done with traffic accidents. A plan that must involve health professionals, which shall identify those patients who have had attempts so that they do not result in suicide. Furthermore, patients with depression have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, other psychiatric disorders and become drug addicted.

According to data from the National Survey of Health from 2011 to 2012, 68.4% of patients with depression and/or anxiety perceived their health to be fair to very bad (34% in the rest of chronically ill, and 28% of the total population). In fact, the morbidity and mortality from other causes (especially oncology and cardiovascular) is higher than in the general population.