Wednesday November 13, 2019

Depression affecting 86 million people in Southeast Asia, also biggest cause of Suicide: World Health Organization (WHO)

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Brain Scans may help identify whether Talk Therapy or Antidepressant Medication more likely to help a Patient recover from Depression
A depressed woman (representational Image), VOA

New Delhi, April 6, 2017: With depression being the biggest cause of suicides, and the highest cause of death among 15-29-year olds in Southeast Asia, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for scaling up of the quality and reach of mental health services to tackle depression.

Depression affects nearly 86 million people in WHO Southeast Asia Region and if left untreated, in its most severe form can lead to suicide.

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The global health organisation said there is a need for individuals, communities and countries to talk more openly about depression and scale up the quality and reach of mental health services to prevent untold hardships and precious lives being cut short by depression, a condition that can be easily treated.

“Depression is an issue that needs to be heard. It can affect anyone at any stage of life, impacting relationships, work and social interactions, and impeding our ability to live life to its fullest. Depression can be managed and overcome,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO Southeast Asia, in a statement.

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April 7 every year is marked as World Health Day and depression has been set as the theme for 2017. WHO wants to lay emphasis on depression because it involves persistent sadness or loss of interest or pleasure in things normally enjoyed.

According to WHO, though depression affects all demographic groups, it is more commonly experienced by adolescents and young adults, women of childbearing age (particularly following childbirth), and adults over the age of 60.

Stating that though efforts have been made by countries in the region, Singh said that mental health has been among the top 10 health priorities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka in recent years.

Eight of the 11-member countries have mental health policies or plans. She complimented India for its recent legislation that decriminalises suicide and seeks to provide health care and services for persons with mental health conditions.

Singh added that depression-related health services across the region must be made more accessible and of higher quality, and this is possible even in low- and middle-income settings.

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Medical experts have also said that with the rise in sedentary lifestyle among youngsters, infertility is also becoming a major reason for depression. They said depression is also leading to disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

“It is important to diagnose the symptoms that hinder conception. If a person is experiencing tearfulness, not looking forward to things as much as they used to, have issues with sleeping and/or eating, are not enjoying activities like one did in the past, and are feeling irritable, it is possible that the person is depressed. Women with increased stress hormones are less likely than others to get pregnant.” said Jyoti Gupta, IVF Expert at city based Indira IVF Hospital.

Talking about the symptoms of depression, Samir Parikh, Director Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, said that symptoms could be accompanied by significant weight loss, decrease or increase in appetite, sleep disturbances, low energy levels and fatigue.

“A depressed individual might experience feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, with a difficulty in concentration, difficulty in decision-making, and recurrent thoughts of death,” said Parikh. (IANS)

Next Story

Study Says, Youth with Abnormal Heart Rythms are More Likely to Have Mental Health Issues

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 -- November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US

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Heart Rythms
Researchers reviewed data on more than 7,300 children with abnormal Heart Rhthms and compared them to children with congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and children with none of these chronic conditions (controls). Pixabay

Children and teenagers with abnormal Heart Rythms (cardiac arrhythmias) are more likely to have depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as compared to those of similar ages without chronic medical conditions, researchers have warned.

“This may be the first study of this size looking at children and teenagers with various cardiac arrhythmias that have been diagnosed with or are taking medication for anxiety and depression,” said study’s lead author Keila N. Lopez from Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

Higher rates of depression, anxiety and ADHD have previously been described in young adults born with structural heart defects (congenital heart disease).

For the study, the researchers analysed the records of more than a quarter of a million children admitted to or seen in the emergency room of Texas Children’s Hospital between 2011 and 2016.

They reviewed data on more than 7,300 children with abnormal heart rhythms and compared them to children with congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and children with none of these chronic conditions (controls).

“We chose cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease because they are chronic diseases that are managed with medications and usually involve multiple hospitalisations,” Lopez said.

They found more than 20 per cent of kids with abnormal heart rhythms, congenital heart disease and cystic fibrosis had been diagnosed with or prescribed medication for depression and/or anxiety, compared with five per cent of children with sickle cell disease and three per cent of the control group.

Heart Rythms
Children and teenagers with abnormal Heart Rythms (cardiac arrhythmias) are more likely to have depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as compared to those of similar ages without chronic medical condition. Pixabay

Kids with abnormal heart rhythms were nine times more likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression and almost five times more likely to be diagnosed or treated for ADHD, compared to kids without any of the identified chronic diseases in the study.

Kids with abnormal heart rhythms were one and a half times as likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression than those with cystic fibrosis, and more than five times as likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression than those with sickle cell disease, the study said.

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The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 — November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US. (IANS)