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Publication 51 "Depressive disorders"

Published in September 2010 as part of the series of Federal Health Reporting ("Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes")

GBE-Booklet 51: Depressive disorders. Quelle: © RKI Source: © Robert Koch-Institut

ISBN 978-3-89606-205-5
ISSN 1437-5478
German version only

Depressive disorders – Booklet 51 (PDF, 1 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)

The terms depressed or depression are often used in everyday life. They quickly come to mind when someone is feeling unwell or sad and has no drive. But what really lies behind the term 'depression'? What does it mean to be depressed?

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. It is regarded as requiring treatment if certain characteristic physical, mental and behavioural symptoms occur, leading to a major change in the person concerned over a certain period. The individual and social consequences can be significant: long-term absence from the workplace, early retirement, even suicide.

Analyses of data from the 1998 Federal Health Survey show that quite a sizeable proportion of the population, especially women, are affected by depressive disorders. The prevalence of depression is also reflected in statistics on the number of people who are off work sick: they show that there has been a steady increase in mental illnesses in recent years.

Depression can be successfully treated in most cases if it is diagnosed at an early stage. Therapy can include both medication and psychotherapeutic treatment.

In order to be able to recognize and successfully treat depressive disorders at an early stage, the population in general and the medical profession in particular need to become more aware of this condition.

Date: 22.09.2010