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June 24, 2020

Can Depression Be Prevented? If So, How?

Author Affiliations
  • 1IMPACT, The Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation, Food and Mood Centre, Barwon Health, Deakin University School of Medicine, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  • 2IMPACT, The Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation, Barwon Health, Deakin University School of Medicine, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  • 3Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1273

Depression is highly prevalent, heterogenous, and comorbid with multiple chronic physical conditions and remains the leading cause of disability worldwide.1 Research and public health efforts have furthered our understanding of the cause of depression and its treatment while increasing community awareness. However, global estimates suggest that the prevalence of depression may nevertheless be on the rise.1 Increased awareness, subsequent diagnosis, and inadequate reach of effective therapies are potential contributors to this rise, although changing risk factors may play a role. These risk factors for depression are complex and diverse, spanning multiple individual, family, environmental, social, and other domains.

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    1 Comment for this article
    SHOULD we prevent depression?
    Walker Ladd, Ph.D. | Saybrook University
    The inherent argument in your viewpoint article is that depression is bad. This representation is supported by the plethora of empirical research published over the last five decades, with one exception--depressive realism (Alloy & Abramson, 1981).

    Perhaps if we expand our paradigm of depressive mood disorders to include the fullest range of the individual's experience, we might learn how to benefit those who report suffering or mitigate stigma.

    Alloy, L.B.; Abramson, L.Y.; Viscusi, D. (1981). "Induced mood and the illusion of control". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 41 (6): 1129–1140. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.41.6.1129. S2CID 54890341.