Depression in North America
Clinical depression is the leading cause of disability in North America. The World Health Organization anticipates that by 2020, clinical depressions will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Heart disease is expected to continue being number one.
Interestingly, almost twice as many females as males report or receive treatment for clinical depression. However, recent history is showing a lessening of this imbalance. This difference seems to disappear after the age of 50-55.
The theoretical causes and risk factors of clinical depression are broadly classified into two categories Physiological and Sociopsychological.
One common sociopsychological cause is life experiences. This includes job loss, long term unemployment, rape, divorce and sexual dysfunction. As the instances of these causes increase in North America, the cases of depression rise as well.
A few of the physiological factors prevalent in North America include dietary, medical conditions and even the quality of sleep.
The increase in depression in industrialized countries is linked to the reduced amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in intensively farmed and processed foods. A deficiency in magnesium levels can cause depression as well as an excess of omega-6 fatty acids.
Certain illnesses including cardiovascular disease, prominent in North America, may contribute to depression. Some prescription drugs such as hormonal contraceptives and steroids may also play a roll in causing depression.
Abnormal sleep architecture has been found in many people suffering from major depression. This results in entering REM sleep sooner than normal, along with emotionally charged dreams.