In 2000 the World Health Organisation named depression as the fourth leading contributor to the global burden of disease and predicted that by 2020 it would rise to second place. I suppose WHO didn't mean it to sound like a target to be aimed for, but we seem to be rising to the challenge in any case.
A new survey from the European College of Psychopharmacology, a meta-analysis of a gathered mass of earlier
research, reports that a staggering 164.8 million Europeans – 38.2% of the population – suffer from a mental disorder
in any year. As well as depression, this includes neural disorders such
as dementia and Parkinson's; childhood problems from ADHD to "conduct disorder";
and the leading anxiety disorders – everything from panic attacks to
obsessive-compulsive disorder to shyness. Depression and anxiety, they
tell us, are disproportionately women's ailments. Men, it seems, become
alcoholics (another illness category) rather than depressives,
particularly in eastern Europe.
Such reports are worrying. They
may draw attention to a rising toll of human suffering, but they
pinpoint the imperialising tendency of the mental health sector. Our
ills and unhappiness are squeezed into a package labelled "disorder" and
an ever-proliferating assortment of supposedly objective diagnostic
categories. A cure is somehow promised, though it rarely seems to come,
certainly not for everyone or for ever.
Source - Guardian