Depression is regarded as one of the primary causes of disability worldwide, increasing the chance of premature mortality, lowering quality of life, and putting a strain on health-care systems. It is anticipated that it will affect over 300 million people worldwide.

The researchers examined data from the European Health Interview Survey's second wave, which was collected between 2013 and 2015. For methodological considerations, they were able to use replies from 258,888 persons from 27 European nations, excluding Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Nonetheless, a prior study used the survey's Spanish data and found that depression had an overall frequency of 6.1%, 8% among women, and 4.1% among males.

The prevalence of depression was determined using an eight-item measure (PHQ-8) that assesses the presence and intensity of depressed symptoms while eliminating thoughts of death or suicide and is used to diagnose this illness. 6.4% of the entire population surveyed had a probable depressive illness.

The prevalence of this pathology was 7.7 % in women, who made up 52.2 % of the sample, which was significantly higher than the 4.9% in men. With the exception of Finland and Croatia, practically every country has a significant gender disparity.

Anxiety (Representational Picture)Pixabay

The large discrepancies between countries have astonished experts the most, with prevalence rates being up to four times greater in more economically developed nations. The study's findings also show that Western European countries have greater rates of depression than Eastern European countries.

Iceland (10.3% of the population), Luxembourg (9.7%), Germany (9.2%), and Portugal (9.2 %) have the highest proportion. The Czech Republic (2.6%), Slovakia (2.6%), Lithuania (3%), and Croatia (3.2 %) have the lowest rates. According to gender, Germany and Ireland have the largest proportion of men suffering from a depressive condition, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia have the lowest. Germany and Luxembourg have the highest rates for women, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic have the lowest rates.

These findings show that demographic, cultural, and sociopolitical issues, such as access to health care, employment insecurity, or increased living costs may be determining factors in the observed discrepancies. In terms of population categories, older persons who were not born in the European Union, lived in densely crowded areas, had chronic illnesses and little physical activity, and had lower levels of education and income were the most affected by depression.