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Despondency and depression: similarities, differences, healing

Depression (from the Latin word depressio, which means to press, oppress) is the subnormal, depressed mood, accompanied by lethargy, fatigue, dull-pessimistic assessment of the situation. This suffering is known to mankind since time immemorial. Since the time, when the Fall of a man occurred. Yet Hippocrates described the similar mental state, which was referred to as "melancholy." The bouts of depression are repeatedly described in the Scriptures on the pages of the Old Testament. It is suffice to recall, for example, the King Saul, to whom psalms of David brought relief from melancholy. Modern understanding of depression as a disease starts in the middle of the nineteenth century.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) compares depression with the epidemic that has spread to all mankind. In 1997, 146 million people in the world lost their ability to work due to depression. According to the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation depression affects 10% of the population at the age of over 40 years, of which two thirds are women. According to some estimates, the number of patients with depression in Russia increases by 3-5% annually. Women get depression twice as often as men. Most likely, this is not the "immunity" of a strong half of humanity before depression, but the fact that men are much less seldom than women seek medical help, preferring to suppress its symptoms by using  alcohol, shrinking into work, and so on. Special studies have shown that depressive disorders of varying severity are detected in 60% of patients who come to the clinic. Meanwhile, depression is usually diagnosed in not more than 5% of all depressive patients who visit polyclinics. From 45 to 60% of all suicides in the world are committed by depressed patients. According to the forecasts, in the twenty-first century depression will be the number one killer for mankind.

Not so long ago the peak of depression accounted for the age between 30 and 40 years, but today depression has "rejuvenated" appreciably and affects people under 25. Only in 2-3% of cases depression is not dependent of external circumstances (endogenous depression), and in the rest it occurs mainly as a reaction to stress. The annual catalog of new antidepressants reaches a thickness of three centimeters. When a single episode of depression took place, the probability of recurrence is 50%, when there were two cases it is 70%, if there were three of them, it is 90%. Depression is the most widespread symptom of mental illnesses. For example, in the structure of mental illnesses of the aged people 40-60% of them suffer from depression. About 75% of people suffering from depression thought about suicide at least once, and 10-15% from this number committed it. Therefore it is difficult to overestimate the importance and complexity of the problem concerned.

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