Mood disorders and medical illness: a major public health problem

      Despite efficacious and widely available antidepressants and psychotherapeutic interventions, the psychosocial and medical burden of depression is increasing. In fact, the World Health Organization projects that depression will continue to be prevalent, and by the year 2020, will remain a leading cause of disability, second only to cardiovascular disease (
      • Michaud C.M.
      • Murray C.J.
      • Bloom B.R.
      Burden of disease Implications for future research.
      ). Although we do not know with certainty why rates and disability associated with depression are increasing, it is likely that this mood disorder continues to be remarkably under-recognized and under-treated. Depression frequently occurs in the context of chronic medical illness, and it is only relatively recently that the research community has turned its attention to the relationship between depression and chronic medical conditions. However, there is much work yet to be done. The recently released
      Institute of Medicine
      acknowledged depression as one of a number of chronic conditions that requires priority action, but did not address the importance of comorbid depression and medical illness.
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