Depression or “Unipolar depression is another name for Major Depressive disorder.
It is a mood disorder characterized by a depressed mood, a lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, changes in weight and sleep, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of death and suicide. ” (Nancy Schimelpfening, 2007). Just like any other pathological disease, it has risk factors, signs and symptoms, a natural course. Like any other disease it can be cured with proper medical and psychological therapy.Yet it is not perceived as such by the community.
There is remarkable lack of awareness in the communities about depression even through statistics about the disease is staggering. According to a statistic, every year about 13 to 14 million people suffer from a given form of depressive disorder. The prevalence of depression in women is 7 million. It has also been observed that 2. 5 percent of children and 8. 3 percent of adolescents are depressed at any given time.
These rates are considerably higher than the figure of the past decades (Depression Statistics Information).Yet it has been found that only 20 percent of the depressed people receive adequate medical treatment (Depression Statistics Information). This can be due to many reasons, though ignorance or lack of concern and awareness about the disease is the biggest suspect. . In fact according to a report by US surgeon General, in the Hispanic community, it was stated less than 10 percent of the mentally ill people will ever approach a mental clinic (U. S.
Department of Health). This could be the result of lack of concern on their part, or maybe due to the fact that in the Hispanic community, they try non medical methods to treat a depressed person.It is imperative that we find out whether other communities also show this kind of lack of awareness and concern about depression. We suspect that minority communities either have little knowledge about the disease or if they do, they don’t perceive it to be a severe one. It is imperative to find out exactly how different cultures perceive depression as a disease. I plan on conducting this research.
My research will deal with the perception of depression as a disease amongst western and non western cultures.It research will also look into the level of awareness in different cultures about the prevalence of disease in their societies. My research will try to substantiate if the perception of depression varies with different cultures. (Karasz A. in 2005) in an attempt to find cultural differences in the conceptual models of depression interviewed south Asian migrants and European Americans.
His study demonstrated that European Americans were more of the view that depression was a pathological disease of the body just like any other disease and required medical therapy.According to Mr. Karasz, the people from the south Asian community were more likely to explain depression in terms of a social and moral problem and were of the belief that self management was the right way to deal with the issue of depression. Different communities may perceive the disease differently.
It has even been noticed that, some people of certain cultures prefer to go to spiritual healers rather than seek medical attention (Nayem F, 2005). In some cultures, people prefer to treat this ailment with alternative therapies to allopathic ones.Depression, though a serious and a debilitating disease, does not command the same attention as other diseases like heart diseases or Parkinson’s disease or even obesity. According to Jeannie Pasacreta (2008) there has been little attention given to depression and its consequences when we compare it with other diseases. For example obesity has been associated with diabetes many a times. Even though depression also has a similar association with type II diabetes, not many people are aware of this fact.
Since public concern is lacking in communities, many people who have depression fail come forward, and receive proper treatment. If this trend continues prevalence of depression will continue to rise. Though the attitudes of different cultures may vary towards the disease, it doesn’t change the fact that “depression poses enormous costs for individual, family and the society” (Nayem F, 2005). Depression is a severe disease with far reaching effects, starting from the patient himself, who may inflict self harm, leading to the family life, which cannot function in the same way as before.There has been research which demonstrates that depression poses a considerable economic burden on the person, communities and health services as the treatment is long term and the patient can no longer productively contribute towards the society while ill.
(Nayem F, 2005). This further highlights the need to conduct a survey to assess the perception of depression across the various cultures. People are unaware of the magnitude of the problem and its economic implications. In certain cultures, inability to diagnose the disease or disregard of its seriousness leads to delayed medical opinion and treatment.By conducting our study, we will try to substantiate, that different cultures have varying awareness levels and perceptions about the disease. The severity of depression usually gets aggravated if it is not treated promptly after diagnosis.
This leads to a greater burden on the country. Scott J, (2003) echoed this sentiment when he stated “In the National Health Service the cost of treating depression (? 887 million) exceeds the cost of treating both hypertension (? 439 million) and diabetes (? 300 million) However, the direct health care costs are dwarfed by the indirect costs Days lost from work owing to depression exceed all other disorders and the economic burden on family members and society is considerable.This may account for 60–85% of the total cost of the illness and represents a significant proportion of the gross national product” (Scott J, 2003). My research will be able to assess the perceptions different cultures have about depression. This information can be used by media and medical group, to focus on the cultures holding false perceptions.
They can enlighten these communities about the real dangers of depression and the need to get proper medical treatment promptly to ensure that the adverse effects of this disease can be avoided. Hypothesis: Western and non western cultures both differ in there perceptions about depression as a disease. Different cultures may feel that depression is a problem but western cultures are more likely to view it as a disease which needs medical therapy just like any other, whereas the people from the non western culture will perceive depression as more of a social and moral problem which requires self-management.There will generally lack of knowledge about depression as a disease in the non western community.
The false beliefs and stigmas will be more present in non western cultures as compared to their western counterparts. Methodology: Participants: This research will be conducted on a sample of 40 students from the campus. All of them will be selected using randomized sampling. I will request the lists from the international and western students residing on campus from the administration and using the dice method, select 20 western and 20 international students.Materials: A structured questionnaire will be prepared.
The research survey will be conducted through these questionnaires. The survey forms will contain closed ended questions only. They will have to choose from the stated options. The options to the following statements: Depressed people are a) dangerous, b) unpredictable, c) hard to talk to d) have themselves to blame f) just ill and need medical treatment etc.
Method: The survey questionnaire will consist of questions related to assessment of knowledge and attitudes towards depression and a demographic data form.The survey forms will be distributed to all the 40 students by hand. They will be instructed to return the forms in prepaid envelopes which will be provided to them as well. They will be given a week to return the forms. After receiving the forms, the data will be analyzed.
Data analysis: For Quantitative data such as age, the student’s t test will be used as the samples will be normally distributed. For qualitative or categorical data, since there are only 2 variables that are being tested, Chi square test will be used. The data can also be analyzed using SPSS 10. Missing or incomplete data will be removed.