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There are some people who say depression is part of Western culture. But we know now that’s not true: depression is found in every culture around the globe. The most comprehensive study on depression around the world has been released by the researchers at The University of Queensland.
More than 480,000 people from 91 countries were surveyed regarding their anxiety and depression in two separate studies. The seriousness of the condition was underscored all around the world. The anxiety study revealed that while Western societies don’t lay claim to anxiety solely, there are fewer people found in non-western societies who have depression, even if those countries have political conflict. They found that 10% of people affected by anxiety were in North America, Western Europe, and Australia. About 8% of people in the Middle East report anxiety, as do 6% of people in Asia.
The depression study uncovered an inverse affect. Western countries had less depression than other countries. About 9% of people in Asia and Middle Eastern countries reported depression. In other parts of the world, about 4% said they had depressive symptoms (North and South America, New Zealand, Australia, and East Asian countries like China, Thailand and Indonesia).
Depression appears to be higher in areas of the world with conflict. Researchers also admit that data was harder to pull from low and middle income countries. “More investigation of the methods we use to diagnose depression and measure its prevalence in non-western countries is required, as well as more research on how depression occurs across the lifespan,” said Alize Ferrari, lead author of the depression study.
“Measuring mental disorders across different cultures is challenging because many factors can influence the reported prevalence of anxiety disorder. More research is also needed to ensure that the criteria we are currently using to diagnose anxiety is suitable for people across all cultures,” explained Amanda Baxter, lead author of the anxiety study.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Queensland
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