chapter  4
Pages 7

Depression is a very common condition, which affects people all over the world. The

European Outcome of Depression International Network (ODIN) study gave an

overall prevalence of depressive disorders of 8.6%. For women the rate was 10.6%

and for men 6.6%.2 This condition can affect anyone, young or old, it has no social

boundaries. The highest rates in the European study were in cities in the UK and

Ireland, and the lowest rate was in urban Spain. Depression and mental health

problems generally still have a stigma attached, with a very negative label and a

sense of personal failure. The word depression, even in our modern 21st century,

conjures up a fear of psychiatrists, asylums and conditions that in the past were very

much taboo in society, and can still inject the same dread today. In comparison, the

word ‘stress’ has a more modern feel to it. It is more acceptable to be stressed as it

conjures up images of hard work and being in demand, popular and conscientious,

which is much more open to discussion. It can therefore be very difficult for the

sufferer to admit to the condition at one level and to establish the symptoms as being

those of depression. This is because many of the signs are physical, and the

investigations quite often take this path.