Depression significantly impairs health but is unrecognized and untreated
“Treatment for depression should at least be
on a par with that for other chronic diseases.”
An article in this week’s edition of The Lancet based on World Health Organization (WHO) surveys concludes that depression produces the greatest decline in health compared with the chronic diseases angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Still, the percentage of people with depression who receive treatment remains deplorably low.
In an accompanying Comment, Professor Gavin Andrews and Dr. Nickolai Titov, Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression, University of New South Wales at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia, say,
- "In Australia, less than 30% of patients receive good treatment with anti-depressants, cognitive behavioural therapy, and proactive maintenance care. By contrast, 80% of patients with arthritis and 90% of patients with asthma receive an acceptable standard of care. Perhaps differential access to treatment is one reason why disability is less with the physical disorders. Treatment for depression should at least be on a par with that for other chronic diseases."
© Teri Robert, 2007.