Depression map (a complete guide)

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Page last updated: 20/10/2022

Depression map (a complete guide)

In this guide, we will show the level of depression all over the world in different countries. 

With more than 264 million people affected, depression is a widespread disease worldwide. Depression is distinct from the normal changes in mood and short-lived emotional reactions to daily life problems. Depression can become a serious health condition, especially when it is long-lasting and with moderate to extreme severity. It can cause great distress and poor functioning of the affected individual at work, at school, and in the family. Depression can, at its worst, lead to suicide. Near to 800,000 people die each year from suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers aged 15-29.

While successful therapies for mental disorders are known to exist, between 76% and 85% of individuals in low- and middle-income countries do not receive any care for their condition. Lack of funding, lack of qualified health care professionals, and social stigma linked to mental illness are obstacles to successful care.

Inaccurate diagnosis is another challenge to successful treatment. People who are depressed are often not properly identified in countries with all levels of wealth, and those who do not have the condition are too often misdiagnosed and given antidepressants.

Globally, the burden of depression and other mental health problems is on the rise. A World Health Assembly resolution adopted in May 2013 called for a country-level, inclusive, organized response to mental disorders.

Depression map (a complete guide)

According to a recent report by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, the Middle East and North Africa face the highest depression rates in the world—and it’s costing people in the region years of their lives.

The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine this week, used data on the prevalence, incidence, and length of depression to assess the burden of the condition on social and public health around the world. Globally, they found, depression is the second leading cause of disability, with it being diagnosed by slightly more than 4 percent of the world’s population. The map at the top of this page shows how much of the population has obtained a clinical depression diagnosis in – region.

Scientists, of course, did not go out and screen anyone for psychiatric depression; they used pre-existing evidence instead. That means that we don’t look at clinical depression rates, exactly, as much as the rate at which people are diagnosed with clinical depression. Then, people living in countries that are more conscious of and have easier access to mental health services will naturally be diagnosed at a higher rate. In Iraq, for example, where public health services are weak, that may help explain the unusually low rate. Taboos against mental health conditions may also push down diagnosis rates, such as in East Asia, falsely reducing the incidence of psychiatric depression in that area by the study measure. The paper further cautions that for some low-income countries, accurate depression surveys do not even exist — a common problem with global studies — requiring researchers to come up with their estimates based on models of statistical regression.

Today, the findings of the researchers have real implications for the world — and are always shocking. In the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean, more than 5 percent of the population is suffering from depression. Meanwhile, in East Asia, followed by Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia, depression is reportedly the lowest. This chart illustrates how depression affects an area of the world; the orange line shows per 100,000 individuals the number of years spent dealing with clinical depression.

Depression map (a complete guide)

Research on Depression Map

Maps can tell stories that are shocking. “About a year ago, psychologist Joan Chiao of Northwestern University pondered a set of global maps that confused conventional notions of what depression is, why we get it, and how genes interact with environment and culture, specifically the so-called “depression gene.

Chiao had run through data indicating that many East Asians seemed to carry the “depression gene” at exceptionally high rates, shorter versions, that is, of a mood-regulating gene known as the serotonin transporter gene, or SERT. However, while hundreds of studies over the previous 15 years had shown that these short SERT genes made people more likely to respond to trouble by being depressed or anxious,* it was n.

So she collected it. Chiao and Katherine Blizinsky, one of her graduate students, found all the papers they could research in East Asian communities that examined serotonin or depression. These papers, along with related studies in other countries and some mental health data from the World Health Organization, painted a pretty clear picture of short-SERT variant and depression rates not only in North America and Europe

A pretty good picture, but in the middle, seemingly distorted. Upside down, the eastern half was. Although the short-SERT “depression gene” variants were borne by East Asians at almost twice the rate (70-80 percent) of white westerners (40-45 percent), they experienced less than half the anxiety and depression rates.

You can see the charts on it. The first map below shows the prevalence of the ‘depression gene’ short-SERT, and the second shows the prevalence of depression. Their colors should match up, but they disagree instead.

Depression map (a complete guide)

Fig 2.Yellow denotes low rates, orange middling rates (around 40-50%, and red high, around 80%. From Chiao and Blizinsky 2009.

Depression map (a complete guide)

Fig 3. Percentages of populace diagnosed with mood disorders at some time in a lifetime. Again, yellow is low, in the single digits, while red is high, around 20%, and gray areas lack sufficient data.

If the “depression gene” frequency predicted the prevalence of depression, then this chart should look a lot like the one above it. But it doesn’t, especially when you look at North America and Asia, which are the areas of interest here. It almost looks backward. From Blizinsky and Chiao 2009. Gray areas lack adequate data.

In East Asia, a well-established gene variant that is supposed to predict depression tends to predict just the contrary.

In one culture and resilience in another, the gene seemed to produce vulnerability.

Several possibilities offered themselves, as Chiao acknowledged. Could depression in Eastern Asians be underdiagnosed and Westerners overdiagnosed? It may be a complete reversal of the risk dynamic, but perhaps not enough to account for it. Perhaps most East Asians bore some other gene that eliminated the risk of depression from the SERT gene? Again, maybe, but it seemed to be an awfully powerful influence.

These kinds of theories, to Chiao, could not reconcile the two maps. However, when Chiao considered them in the light of the evolutionary theory of gene culture, the maps started to make sense (aka dual inheritance theory). This is the idea that genes and culture affect each other, and that the way genes express themselves and even how they develop can be influenced by culture. To Chiao, gene-culture results smelled of the mismatch between the SERT map and the depression map.

This distinction of individualism – collectivism comes not from Mao, but Geert Hofstede, a Dutch organizational sociologist. Hofstede did a major survey of several hundred thousand of the company’s employees in 70 countries for IBM back in the 1970s. In IBM offices across the globe, Hofstede discovered many cultural variables that influence business practices differently, the most prominent of which became the continuum between individualistic cultures that emphasize the freedom of a person and collectivist cultures that emphasize the interpersonal, social, and civic relations of a person. The analysis exerted tremendous influence and made the individualism continuum of collectivism a staple of many sociological study strains.

It seems that the short SERT gene sensitizes individuals not just to bad experiences, but to all experiences, good or bad. In the past year, both Chiao & Blizinsky and Way & Lieberman released papers setting out all this: last December, Way, and Baldwin this June, Chiao, and Blizinsky. And both pairs argue that these short SERT variants make individuals directly susceptible to social experience.

WHO Response

Depression is one of the priority conditions addressed by the Gap Response Programme for the mental health of the WHO (mhGAP). The Program seeks to help countries improve services through treatment delivered by health professionals who are not experts in mental health for people with mental, neurological, and drug use disorders. WHO has produced brief manuals for depression psychological intervention that can be delivered by lay workers. Problem Management Plus, which explains the use of behavioral activation, relaxation training, medication for problem solving, and social support enhancement, is an example. Moreover, group treatment of depression is defined in the manual Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Depression. Finally, the use of cognitive-behavioral care for perinatal depression is covered by Thinking Healthy.

In this guide, we showed the level of depression all over the world in different countries. 

FAQs: Depression Map

Which country has the highest rate of depression?

The most recent WHO studies on global depression rates show that the following nations have the highest depression rates:

China.
India.
The U.S.
Brazil.
Bangladesh.

What is the number one cause of depression?

Mistreatment. Later in life, past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse may cause depression. Some pharmaceutical goods. For example, some medications, such as beta-blockers or reserpine, used to treat high blood pressure can increase your risk of depression.

Which country has the worst mental health?

In the worst mental disorder groups, the United States, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine appeared to have higher prevalence figures, whereas Nigeria, Shanghai, and Italy were consistently low, and prevalence was generally lower in Asian countries.

What percentage of people suffer from depression?

In 2016, 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports. This constitutes 6.7% of the adult population of the U.S. Depression is most prevalent in people between the ages of 18 and 25 (10.9%) and in people belonging to two or more races (10.5 percent).

Which country has the highest number of suicidal deaths?

Greenland is the most suicidal nation in the world by a broad margin, with a male-female ratio of 2.99, after its last decades of modernizing transformation from a remote colony to a welfare state. The largest contributor to the absolute number of suicide deaths in India, in the South Asia region.

What is the most depressing color?

Grey is the quintessential sad hue, but depending on how they are used, dark and subdued cool colors like blue, green, or neutrals like brown or beige may have a similar effect on feelings and emotions. Black is often considered the color of mourning in Western cultures, whereas it is white in some East Asian countries.

References

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/11/07/a-stunning-map-of-depression-rates-around-the-world/

https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health

https://www.wired.com/2013/05/a-depression-map-as-swan-song-goodbye-wired-post-1/