evolutionary significance of emotions !!

Nick Medford nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk
Sat Mar 4 13:47:26 EST 2000


In article <e6meZVah$GA.215 at cpmsnbbsa02>, sisial
<sisial at email.msn.com> writes
>"Nick Medford" <nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:l$MmRCAPLAw4Ew$v at hermit0.demon.co.uk...
>
>> Where did you actually get your figure from? I have never seen any figures
>> for "actual reported incidences of depression" that would yield such a
>huge
>> discrepancy in lifetime risk for men and women.
>
>Encyclopedia Brittanica. They present an estimated annual incidence for
>major depression of about 140 for men and 4,000 for women per 100,000
>population.

Yup, just checked my own copy of the EB, that's exactly what it says. But it
has to be wrong. I suspect a zero fell off the end of the figure for males. I
also suspect these figures refer to a wider spectrum of disorders than what
you or I might refer to as major depression.
 
> I assumed these figures were drawn from the World Health Report.
>I was unable to find the specific data on the WHO website for major
>depression. However, "Global Burden of Disease" reports a total estimated
>incidence of major depression of around 4%. The numbers from Encyclopedia
>Britannica corresponded to this, so I used those numbers.
>
>I also notice that I was misquoted as saying "actual reported incidences of
>depression". The quote should be "actual reported incidences of major
>depression". Please do not think I am nitpicking over terms. Depression in
>my mind refers to general depression which includes major (unipolar and
>bipolar) and minor (dysthymic and cyclothymic) affective disorders. My
>estimates were specifically for major depression. (Actually, I think I may
>have used severe depression rather than major depression, but the meaning is
>the same).

No, I was talking about major unipolar depression. If you include minor
affective disorders the lifetime prevalence (for the population as a whole)
goes up to around 20% of the population. Personally I wouldn't include
chronic dysthymia as a major affective disorder.

Bipolar disorder actually shows no sex bias. The lifetime prevalence is about
0.012%, males = females.
>
>Are you sure the 2:1 ratio is for major depression and not research into
>general depression? The APA estimates risk of general depression around 25%
>in women and 12.5% in men.

Yes, the 2:1 ratio is roughly correct for both major and minor, although the
most recent estimate I saw (for minor) was 25% for women, 15% for men.

> As I said, this ratio is then often applied to
>major depression (and sometimes even bipolar disorder) with the argument
>that men are less likely to seek help for major depressive episodes. I
>haven't been able to locate any risk studies specifically oriented towards
>major depression.

I will have a look on Medline next week. 
>
>
Regards
-- 
Nick Medford




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