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The Burden of Recurrent Depression: Causes, Consequences, and Future Prospects

John F. Greden, MD

Published: January 8, 2001

Article Abstract

Depression represents one of the most profound human problems currently facing the globalhealth care system. It is a prevalent clinical condition and is estimated to rival virtually every otherknown medical illness in burden of disease morbidity early in this millennium. Understanding thechronic nature of this illness is key to the development of a more informed, longitudinal perspectiveon the diagnosis and treatment of depression. In this report, the morbid impact of depression is reviewed,from the perspectives of illness symptoms, societal impact, and emerging evidence of criticalneurobiological consequences of the untreated condition. Reconceptualizing major depression fromthis longitudinal and multidimensional perspective is crucial to providing an effective response to thiscritical public health challenge.

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