Depression in numbers

Depression in numbers

Depression is a relatively common condition that affects a large number of people globally.1 It is a mental disorder that comprises a constellation of emotional, physical and cognitive symptoms that often have a wider impact on patients’ friends, families, carers and employers.2

Depression is a global condition…

  • Depression affects in excess of 350 million people worldwide, and is estimated to become the leading cause of global disease burden by 20301,3
  • The estimated global cost of depression was more than $800 billion in 2010, and this is expected to at least double over the next two decades4
  • In Europe alone depression had a socioeconomic cost of nearly €54 billion in 2010 through loss of productivity and absence from the workplace5,6

affecting healthcare…

  • It has been estimated that up to 1 in 5 patients present with clinically significant depressive symptoms in primary care settings7
  • Physicians have been prescribing more antidepressants in recent decades. Studies have reported an increase in prescriptions ranging from 165% in England (between 1998 and 2012) to 400% in the USA (between 1988 and 2008)8,9
  • The cost of antidepressant prescriptions in 2011 reached £270 million in the UK, and $11 billion in the USA10,11

as well as individual patients.

  • People with depression are thought to be 20–40% more likely to be unemployed6
  • Patients with depression are 1.6 times more likely to develop heart disease than healthy individuals. That’s greater than the risk posed by passive smoking12
  • The risk of suicide in patients with depression is more than 20 times greater than the general population3

While a patient must present with either depressed mood or anhedonia to be diagnosed with depression, they may also be experiencing symptoms that impair their physical and/or cognitive functioning.2 The latter can have a devastating impact on their day-to-day lives but is often underestimated in clinical practice.2,13 The importance of cognition as a consideration of depression symptomatology, diagnosis and management is becoming increasingly apparent as the condition continues to affect more people each year.1,3


  1. Depression Factsheet. WHO. Available at: Accessed July 2015.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders. 5th Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
  3. Lépine JP, Briley M. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2011; 7(Suppl 1): 3–7.
  4. The World Bank. Mental Health. Available at: Accessed March 2017.
  5. Olesen J et al. Eur J Neurol 2012; 19(1): 155–162.
  6. Lerner D, Henke RM. J Occ Env Med 2008; 50(4): 401–410.
  7. Zung WW et al. J Farm Pract 1993; 37(4): 337–344.
  8. Spence R et al. PharmacoEconomics & Outcomes News 2014; 704(1): 2–7.
  9. Pratt LA et al. Antidepressant use in persons aged 12 and over: United States, 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief No. 76. October 2011.
  10. Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community. England 2001-2011. Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2015.
  11. IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011. April 2012.
  12. Chapman D et al. Prev Chronic Dis 2005; 2(1): A14.
  13. Jarema M et al. Psychiatr Pol 2014; 48(6): 1105–1116.