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Richer but unhappier: Depression Higher in Wealthier Nations


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Curiously, depression rates were much higher in wealthier nations, where antidepressant use is also higher. By the way, according to this article, the worldwide suicide rate is .07%, or 7 in 10,000, while about 10% of the population is taking antidepressants. Also, the major cause of what is called "depression" here is the loss of a loved one or relationship. Could this be an epidemic of diagnosis tailored to those who can afford to buy the medications?


Depression Higher in Wealthier Nations

Study finds rates above 30% in U.S., France, the Netherlands


TUESDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Depression rates are higher in richer countries than in low- or middle-income nations, according to researchers who compared socioeconomic conditions with depression.


About 121 million people worldwide have depression, which can harm people's quality of life by affecting their ability to work and form relationships. Severe depression can lead to suicide and causes 850,000 deaths every year.


Detailed interviews with more than 89,000 people in 18 nations revealed that 15 percent of people in high-income countries were likely to get depression during their lifetime, compared with 11 percent of those in low- or middle-income countries. About 5.5 percent of people in high-income countries had depression within the previous year.


High-income countries had higher rates of major depression (28 percent vs. 20 percent), and especially high rates (more than 30 percent) were found in the United States, France, the Netherlands and India. China had the lowest rate of major depression (12 percent).



Women were twice as likely as men to suffer depression, and the major contributing factor was loss of a partner because of death, divorce or separation.


The study, published July 25 in the journal BMC Medicine, was conducted by researchers at 20 centers in conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative.



-- Robert Preidt


SOURCE: BMC Medicine, news release, July 25, 2011 See research article at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/90/abstract



This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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This certainly is a diagnosis epidemic. It could also be that you are more prone to get depressed if you are better off... I think humans are working animals and we get depressed when we don't have a sense of purpose in life. So maybe if you have too many thing figured out in your life you are more prone to get depressed.


But there is also a huge difference between situational depression and ongoing "no real reason" depression (which could be an accumulation of a lot of things, both situational and organic... I still wonder in my case why it is that I was so prone to get depressed even in the seeming absence of real stressors). I think it is particularly criminal to prescribe an AD to someone who is depressed because of the loss of a loved one. And it gets more ridiculous than that, too... it seems to me doctors prescribe pills to combat regular human emotions more than ever. It's part of a deeper sickness... a focus on productivity so complete that you are not considered OK unless you can manage 80 hour work weeks. There is this idea that you have to be 100% functional at all times not matter what.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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I agree, we're pushed to expect way too much of ourselves, and we feel bad when we can't live up to those expectations.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I think this speaks to my theory that all the meds, surgeries (especially plastic surgeries!), various other societal quick fixes, and our obsession with "the good life" only reveals that we are historically more ill-equipped than ever to accept life as it is, and of course the results are tragic (increased depression/suicide, getting on unnecessary meds and suffering the consequences, etc). At this rate, we really will go out with a whimper, not a bang, like all empires. I see this theory reflected everywhere in current US society.


Unless we initiate an unprecedented, sweeping (and very painful) reboot of society (and the economy!), the American empire will continue to decline (the speed of the decline is yet to be seen) due to infrastructural rot that the privileged few (and that includes mainstream -- and powerful -- psychiatrists) blissfully ignore.

Been on SSRIs since 1998:

1998-2005: Paxil in varying doses

2005-present: Lexapro.

2006-early '08: Effexor AND Lexapro! Good thing I got off the Effexor rather quickly (within a year).







Currently tapering Lexapro ~10% every month:



11/7/10: 13.5 mg

12/7/10: 12.2 mg

1/6/11: 10.9 mg

2/3/11: 9.8 mg

3/3/11: 8.8 mg

4/1/11: 7.8 mg

4/29/11: 7 mg

5/27/11: 6.4 mg

6/24/11: 5.7 mg

7/22/11: 5 mg

8/18/11: 4.5 mg

9/14/11: 4 mg

10/13/11: 3.6 mg

11/9/11: 3.2 mg

12/7/11: 2.6 mg

1/3/12: 2.1 mg

2/2/12: 1.8 mg

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I think this article can be looked at two ways. 1) perhaps people are diagnosed more in wealthy countries (because they can afford the high price tag that psychiatric drugs command); or 2) money indeed can't buy you happiness.

1989 to 2008: Prozac then Paxil then Celexa.

Numerous attempts to quit.

Then I got off the SSRI poop-out merry-go-round.

11-12 week taper.


Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear

If you're going through hell, keep walking

The only way out is through

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As far as science goes these days, I also would attribute a raise in depressive states to the western dietary habits. We now know that a lot of our health related problems stem from our gut system. No doubt that our denatured food has an impact on our well being.


So there are surely a lot of factors coming into play when we talk about the given statistics.

End of 2008: Remeron 15mg for around 2 months. Unorthodox taper, no problems.
End of August 2009: Lexapro 10mg for only 4 days. Panic attack after 3 pills. Severe gastro problems in the morning for 3 days after last pill. 2 weeks later strong w/d symptoms set in.

Acute WD lasted around 3.5 years. I am feeling much better today, 5.5 years out, but still have some symptoms left.

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