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Study Reveals Depression Second Leading Cause of Global Disability Burden

Update Date: Nov 05, 2013 05:07 PM EST

Depression is the second leading cause of global disability burden, according to a new study.

The latest research, which reports the most recent and comprehensive estimates on how much death and disability is attributable to depression worldwide, reveals that disability rates are highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan, and depression ranks first in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia.

Researchers found that disability from depression affects women more than men and those in their working years.

Lead researcher Alize Ferrari from the University of Queensland and colleagues compiled relevant information from all published research studies on major depressive disorder, and dysthymia, a less serious form of depression.

Using mathematical tools to estimate a standard measure of disease burden: "disability-adjusted life years", researchers found that major depressive disorder ranked as the second leading cause of global disability or "years lived with a disability" and eleventh leading cause of global burden or "disability-adjusted life years" in 2010.

Researchers also found that major depressive disorder also contributes to mortality for a number of other conditions like suicide and ischemic heart disease. Further analysis revealed that major depressive disorder ranked as the eighth leading cause of global burden.

Researchers said the findings "not only highlight the fact that depressive disorders are a global health priority but also that it is important to understand variations in burden by disorder, country, region, age, sex, and year when setting global health objectives," according to the study.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS Medicine

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