Depression is a mood disorder that is characterised by significantly lowered mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable.
Fast facts of depression in Australia and the world.
- Equal numbers of men and women develop depression.
- Mood disorders are overall more prevalent among men in the 35-44 age group, while women in the 18-24 age group are more at risk.
- Depression can be inherited. The genetic risk of developing clinical depression is about 40% with the remaining 60% being due to factors in the individual’s environment.
- Women are more likely than men to experience mood disorders.
- Suicide accounts for slightly more than one-quarter of all male deaths among the 20-24 age group.
- Between 1995 and 2005 in Australia, the rate of suicide among men was four times higher than that of women.
- The highest suicide rate for men in Australia in 2005 was observed in the 30-34 year age group (27.5 per 100,000)
- According to a World Health Organization study, the countries that reported the highest rates of adults experiencing a mental disorder during any 12-month period (prevalence) were USA (26.4%), Australia (23.3%), and Ukraine (20.5%), in comparison to China (4.3%), Nigeria (4.7%) and Italy (8.2%).
(Black Dog Institute, 2007)
The most common emotional, behavioural and physical symptoms of a major depressive episode are:
- markedly depressed mood
- loss of interest or enjoyment
- reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
- feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- bleak and pessimistic views of the future
- ideas or acts of self-harm and suicide
- disturbed sleep
- disturbed appetite
- decreased libido
- reduced energy leading to fatigue and diminished activity
- reduced concentration and attention.
(WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, 2000)
Approximately 10% of people do not recover without treatment. With appropriate treatment, the majority of individuals will experience a complete recovery from the current episode. (WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, 2000)
Counselling, non-judgmental understanding, compassion, and a professionally appropriate response can be extremely healing for people suffering depression.