Author: Jeanne Miranda, Janice Schreckengost, Linda Heine
Depression is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the United States. Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Ill-Revised, at least 8 percent of the population will exhibit symptoms of major depression or dysthymia at some time during their lives. Furthermore, depression has a high rate of recurrence, so that individuals who have had an episode of depression are more likely to have such episodes in the future. Morbidity from depression includes decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, and job and family disruption. Depression is more debilitating than most chronic medical conditions, and is the major risk factor for suicide, which is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.