Stigma And Treatment Of Depression

1585 Words7 Pages
Depression has become a daunting problem around the world, with the World Health Organization listing it as the leading cause of disability.1 As well, in 2030 it is anticipated to be second on a list of fifteen major disease burdens.2 In the United States, depression is a large, but often overlooked epidemic. It is estimated that 6.7% of the U.S. population suffer from depression yearly, with a lifetime diagnosis rate of approximately 16%.3,4 Additionally, it is estimated that 4-5% of adolescents are suffering from depression each year, with a lifetime prevalence rate of 11.7% in youth aged 13 to 18.5,6 Although 60-90% of adolescent episodes last one year or less, 50-70% percent are expected to relapse within 5 years.5
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The large time commitment and perceived unreliability of treatments are additional barriers.9 Traditional treatments for depression, including outpatient therapy, generally require weekly visits with a professional, limiting treatment to those who have availability to make appointments during business hours. Starting and maintaining medication often has a large time commitment with multiple follow up appointments to assess and adjust the regiment. Furthermore, 26.6% of individuals surveyed in 2009 stated that they believed they could handle their mental health problems without treatment and 10.6% believed that treatment would not help.9
Prior Work There is a large body of work assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of alternative therapy options. Computer and web based interventions have been proven to be effective in both adults as well as adolescents. In a systematic review of online and social networking interventions, researchers found that these programs can be successful in preventing and treating depression in adolescents.7 It was also found that adolescents were open to using technology based therapies because of their immediacy and cost.7 The primary concern of technology based interventions was patient attrition.7 Developing interventions that encourage high engagement and motivation are essential as higher adherence to
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