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Did you know October is the month of depression awareness?

Although about 322 million people suffer from depression, there is still a lack of knowledge about what this disorder brings

Did you know October is the month of depression awareness?

Today begins the month of depression awareness and the numbers are increasing. According to WHO’s information, 4.4% of the world population, about 322 million people, suffer from depression.

Leer en español: ¿Sabías que octubre es el mes de concientización sobre la depresión?

In Latin America, despite being one of the least understood disorders, the numbers are extremely high. According to WHO figures, Brazil leads the list with 5.8%, which means 11.5 million Brazilians depressed.

On the other hand, suicide in Cuba is one of the leading causes of death. Approximately, 332,628 (5.2%) Paraguayans suffer from depression and in Chile, 1 out of every 5 inhabitants has this disorder (around 850,000 people).

The other countries with the highest index of depression in Latin America are:

  • Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica (4.8%)
  • Dominican Republic (4.7%)
  • Ecuador (4.6%)
  • Bolivia, El Salvador, and Panama (4.4%)
  • Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (4.2%)
  • Honduras (4%)
  • Guatemala (3.7%)

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It is estimated that in Latin America only 1 in 5 people with depression receive treatment, which is extremely serious if one takes into account that "each year 800,000 people take their lives globally and 65,000 in the American region," explains Cristián Morales Fuhrimann, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

"The number of people who access treatments in those countries is extremely low; it's less than 5%. 95% of sick people are not treated and this is really worrying", concluded Dan Chisholm, a member of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

How to differentiate depression from sadness?

Many times, people tend to confuse depression with the feeling of sadness, so there are some signs that the American Psychological Association (APA) identified to differentiate and identify this disease.

Sadness is a temporary and relatively habitual state of mind that appears in situations of high stress such as illness, loss of a job or a loved one, a divorce, or some hormonal change. On the other hand, depression occurs when this feeling of sadness lasts for two or more weeks and interferes with the development of daily activities.

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It can produce a loss of appetite, changes in weight, suicidal thoughts, little desire to participate in activities that previously the person enjoyed, and isolation.

In addition, one way to differentiate depression from sadness is through a neuroimaging where it can be seen that depressed people have a series of brain abnormalities, a defect that sadness does not present.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Translated from “¿Sabías que octubre es el mes de concientización sobre la depresión?”

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