It is very difficult to know how many people suffer from depression in the world, in any given country, or even in any community. It is difficult simply because many people try hard to hide their depression, and do everything to keep it to themselves.

When people start really to struggle to control their depression; they may disclose it to their relatives, best friends, people they work with, or seek medical attention.

Most of statistics about depression in medical books or research papers are dealing with “expressed depression”. The hidden depression will remain hidden; simply because the affected people keep “denying” it. The “denied” depression is more serious and more dangerous than the “admitted” depression. The admitted depression may be treated, reduced, or the sufferers can get justice and fairness from others. 

I will give here a practical example of us doctors might sometimes struggle when we are talking about depression incidence and prevalence. People with “multiple sclerosis” are among those who suffer from high incidence of depression. It is known from published literature that around 50% of patients with multiple sclerosis do suffer from known or other wise “exposed” depression. However; it is estimated that on top of those admitting depression, there are around 35% of patients with MS who deny that they are depressed. This will of course rise the figure of real depression in MS to 85%. That will make depression a second commonest complication of MS; just second to fatigue, which affects between 93-97% of patients with multiple sclerosis. 

Let us now return to the published percentages and known figures of depression in general.  An estimated 3.8% of the world population experienced depression 2023; including 5% of adults (4% among men and 6% among women), and 5.7% of adults older than 60 years. Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression.

Depression is about 50% more common among women than among men. Worldwide, more than 10% of pregnant women and women who have just given birth experience depression. More than 700 000 people die every year from suicide induced by depression.

In the United Kingdom; rates of depression are still significantly higher than prior to the pandemic. Around 17% of adults in the UK experienced some form of depression in summer 2021, compared to just 10% before the pandemic.

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