Egypt: 1.2 million suffer depression
Egypt: 1.2 million suffer depression
Friday, December 18,2009 17:40
By Mohamed Abdel Salam

 CAIRO: Said Abdel-Azim, a Professor of Psychiatry at Cairo University, revealed that the number of people living with depression in Egypt has reached 1.2 million persons from the 140 million people who suffer from the disease worldwide, pointing out that the proportion of depressed Egyptian people increases in the countryside more so than in urban areas.

Azim said at a symposium held over the weekend, “Depression is a the next danger” that, according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, “depression is the second most common disease across the world that causes disability and the inability for production and employment,” explaining that the WHO expects that depression will be the number one cause for disability and premature death by the year 2020.

The professor of psychiatry added that “depression is an organic disease that results from the interaction of genetic conditions and the pressure surrounding the person,” pointing to its serious impact on the economies of countries, such as the United States, which “spends $90 billion annually due to the illness of depression.”

He pointed out that pollution and addiction helped to increase the spread of the disease, accusing marijuana as the main cause of depression and other mental illnesses, according to new scientific studies and research he cited.

The professor said there are more than 38 drugs prescribed to treat depression, “but the biggest problem is that 30 percent of the depressed in the world commit suicide because of their refusal to take drugs, since they believe that they do not deserve to be treated.”

For his part, Mustafa Shahin, also a Professor of Psychiatry at Cairo University, said that “there is lack of precision in the statistics of depressed patients in Egypt,” pointing out that the global rates for depression, “amounted to a range between 8 and 9 percent of the total population, or about 6 to 7 million patients with depression in the country.”

He argued that the statistics of 1.2 million depressed in Egypt is “way less than the global rates.”

Shahin explained that depression has more than one type, such as depression which “causes physical disorder and severe depression and is a major cause of heart disease.”

Shahin added that people who suffer from depression lose their “human ability to communicate, as it causes significantly to the inability to work and is a great burden on the families when one of its members suffer from it, especially because of the expenses of the treatment, which is expensive and exhausts the household budgets.”

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