Depression does greater damage to a person's overall health than long-term physical diseases, scientific research revealed.
The mental illness has more impact on sufferers' general well-being than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes, a paper published in the British medical journal "The Lancet" concluded.
The authors of the first global study comparing the health impact of depression with chronic physical illnesses said their findings highlighted the urgent need to improve treatment of the disease worldwide.
Saba Moussavi, of the World Health Organisation, and his colleagues said depression needed to be addressed as a public health priority.
On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 indicating worst health and 100 indicating best health, sufferers of depression had an average score of 72.9.
This compared with 80.3 for asthmatics, 79.6 for angina sufferers, 79.3 for arthritis sufferers and 78.9 for those with diabetes.
Previous studies have ranked depression as having the biggest disabling effect of any disease worldwide.
The mental disorder often comes hand-in-hand with other chronic illnesses and as the world's population lives longer, it is expected to become more and more common.
In 2000, scientists rated depression as the disease which had the fourth greatest public health impact globally. By 2020 it is predicted to have jumped to second place.
At some point in their life it is estimated that around one in every five women and one in every ten men will suffer from depression.
Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2007, 17:55