Depression is a common health problem in the world today. The World Health Organization estimates that depression is the leading cause of disability based on the number of years lost due to disability (YLDS). Also, the world body estimates that depression is the 4th leading contributor to the global burden of disease based on the calculation of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY.
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The above information applied at the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century (Haq & Nasir, 2008, p. 230). Certainly, there is no doubt that the parameters have changed in the last decade. However, the picture could not be further from the one above since data suggests that there is little or no change at all in the conditions responsible for the situation.
WHO projects that prevalence of depression is among both sexes for both children and adults is likely to reach 2nd position based on DALY calculations by the year 2020. In the year 2009, depression had already reached 2nd place based on the projections of DALY among the people aged 15-40 years.
The report further says that 150-200 million people suffer from depression worldwide at any given point while slightly over a million commit suicide every year as a result of the condition (Haq & Nasir, 2008, p. 233).
Depression is even more prevalent in developing countries where close 45% of the populations suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Out of these, only about 35% have access to remedies and medical care that relieve the condition (Nydegger, 2011, p. 43).
One of the most affected regions according to the UN is Middle East. In Pakistan for instance, the prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders in country with over 150 million people stands at slightly below 35%.
In Qatar, the prevalence rate was estimated at 27% while Saudi Arabia measured at 30%. In this discussion, Saudi Arabia will be the main focus with emphasis on Social anxiety disorder and depression in the Kingdom (Baldwin, 2010, p. 90).
The discussion will mainly center on results conducted on a cross-sectional case-control study focusing on the above-named problem. There will be a brief presentation of the results from the study and a qualitative interpretation of the data.
Depression in Saudi Arabia
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most populous and economically stable nations in the Middle East. Despite the oil riches, Saudi Arabia has not been immune to social and economic challenges that have affected different sections of its population. Precisely, there is a high prevalence of Social anxiety disorder and depression in the country (Houpt & Houpt, 2010, p. 229).
A few studies though not specifically on Social anxiety disorder and depression, have shown a considerably high prevalence of the problem among the country’s population. A number of patients visiting health centers in the country especially Riyadh display the signs and symptoms of Social anxiety disorder and depression indicating the underlying problem among the population.
Method of study
The study was conducted through a cross sectional case control study. Researchers interviewed patients and specific medical personnel in three hospital locations in the capital Riyadh with an aim of extracting information in Social anxiety disorder and depression. All of the participants of the study included doctors in the psychiatric departments of the hospitals concerned.
The interviewers held a session with 10 participants at each location and asked questions using a Patient Health Questionnaire that had been prepared earlier. A total of 30 participants were involved in the study. It is important to note that the research did not involve patients and only relied on doctors’ opinions supported by hospital records.
The Patient Health Questionnaire was used as the screening instrument and was specifically designed for this study and contained questions for doctors regarding the problem under study. The study was carried out in face to face interviews with individual doctors in the hospital researchers visited. Researchers explained to the doctors the objectives of the study and sought their permission.
Participation was on voluntary basis and no participant was forced to answer a question he/she was not comfortable with. Additionally, confidentiality was ensured and no participant was forced to use his/her name against their wishes.
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Those who wished used pseudo names instead of their real names. Both the interviewer and the doctor had a copy of the questionnaire that was used to probe the participant. Participants were free to fill the questionnaire though data taking was mainly through note taking.
In some cases where the participant was comfortable, the researcher recorded the interview. The questionnaire had questions relating to the objectives and questions of the study.
To reduce bias, uniform phrases, all predetermined were used in the study. The research also considered the gender element by deploying assistants to interview participants of the same gender. One of the limitations of the study was the language barriers as some of the participants preferred to use Arabic to English.
In such cases, a translator was provided to accompany the research assistant. However, most assistant understood and communicated in Fluent English. Participant’s English varied from good to fair, which was good enough for purposes of communication within the contexts of the study.
Question of Study
- What is the prevalence of Social anxiety disorder and depression in Saudi Arabia?
- Do patients with Social anxiety disorder and depression exhibit symptoms of other depression disorders?
Objectives of the study
- The main aim of the study was to find an accurate estimate of the prevalence of Social anxiety disorder and depression
- Also, the study sought to find out if patients with Social anxiety disorder and depression also exhibited symptoms of other depression disorders
Justified hypotheses: Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder was highly prevalent in the Saudi Arabia Community
Many of the patients suffering from Social anxiety disorder and depression also exhibit signs of other depression conditions
Before an analysis of the results takes place it is important to emphasize that participants used their personally kept data to answer questions from the questionnaires. Also, it is crucially important to state that no confidential information of the patients was revealed by doctors or the administrations of the hospitals that were involved in the study.
Doctors participating in the study generally gave tabulations that of the different variables under study. Their data was matched by that released to the researchers by the hospital administrations for purposes of comparison. In both cases, the data was devoid of any personal information and relevant steps were taken by involved hospitals to ensure data released was used for purposes of research only.
A total of 30 doctors were interviewed in the study. There were 20 male doctors while the rest (10) were female doctors. The average age of the participating doctors was 39 years.
According to the data given by the respondents and supported by hospital records, approximately 31% of the patients they have attended to displayed signs of Social anxiety disorder and depression.
Of all these patients, 50% displayed symptoms of another current depression disorder. Furthermore, 35% of patients had it currently while 32% had it after the onset of Social anxiety disorder and depression (SAD).
52% of all patients with Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder did suffer from other chronic conditions such as heart and kidney problems.
The age of respondents varied across the board but most patients with Social anxiety disorder and depression fell between the ages of 25-35 years. 68% of all patients who showed symptoms of the above condition were married while 20 % were single.
Most of the patients who showed the above signs according to the participants were literate at least with primary school education while only less than 4% were illiterate. A good number-48% of the patients according to doctors and records came from joint family backgrounds while the rest did not specify their family background types.
Only 60% of patients showing signs of social anxiety disorder and depression had a bad relationship with their families and a similar percentage felt they had a bad childhood. According to participating doctors, 55% of all patients felt or thought they had no psychiatric issues.
Out of the patients referred to the psychiatric department of the hospitals participating in the study, 31% were diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and depression with no obvious signs that they were ailing.
In a peculiar twist, there was consensus among participating doctors that most of the people diagnosed with Social anxiety disorder and depression actually sought help from psychiatric doctors. The following table summarizes the above data
|Patients displaying symptoms of another current depression disorder||50%|
|Patients currently with another depression disorder||35%|
|SAD patients with other chronic conditions||52%|
|Patients with another current disorder after onset of SAD||32%|
|Most dominant age of patients with SAD||20-25 years|
|Married SAD patients||68%|
|SAD patients with a bad relationship with family||60%|
|SAD patients with a rough childhood||60%|
|Single SAD patients||20%|
|Literacy rate among SAD patients||84%|
|SAD patients who thought they had no Psychiatric problem||55%|
|Overall Diagnosis of patients with SAD||31%|
The prevalence of Social anxiety disorder and depression in the three hospitals was found to stand at 31%, a figure that is more or less similar to that in the national average tally. This seemed to confirm the justified hypothesis that Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder was highly prevalent in the Saudi Arabia Community.
There was a high rate of Social anxiety disorder and depression among married people followed by single people who have reached adult age.
One of the objectives of the study was to find out if people with Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder also exhibited signs of other stress disorders. Based on the number of patients with Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder who displayed another stress disorder, the study proves that there is a strong relationship between this particular disorder and the rest.
Additionally, there are is a strong relationship between existence of other medical conditions and Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder. Most of the patients who suffered from chronic conditions such kidney and heart problems were more likely to exhibit symptoms of Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder.
The study also confirmed results by a number of separate studies that have concluded that people with family issues as well as those that did not have normal childhood were likely to suffer from SAD and related depression disorders.
However, contrary to earlier works of research, there was no clear relationship between the level of education and Social anxiety disorder and depression. There was a high level of literacy among the population under study but the co-relationship was somehow unclear.
The results indicate a lack of awareness among the Saudi population on depression issues especially on Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder. This is justifiable based on the number of patients who according to doctors participating in the study though had no psychiatric issues.
The study supports most of the findings that Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder is common in Saudi Arabia. It also supports the assertions that depression especially SAD is dependent on social economic conditions as well as other demographic and health dynamic factors that may be beyond individual control.
This study serves to highlight on the situation of Social anxiety disorder and depression disorder and offers insights that may be crucial in combating the problem. Besides, it offers a base for further research by scholars and professionals in the field of depression both in Saudi Arabia and the world at large.
Baldwin, R. (2010). Depression in Later Life. New York: Springer Verlag.
Haq, A. & Nasir, L. (2008). Caring for Arab patients: a biopsychosocial approach. London: ABC-CLIO.
Houpt, M. & Houpt, E. (2010). Defeating Depression: Recognizing Its Many Faces. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Nydegger, R. (2011). Dealing with Anxiety and Related Disorders: Understanding, Coping and Prevention. New York: John Willey & Sons.