By WAFA AHMED
DOHA: A staggering 27 percent of the patients seeking treatment at the primary health centers in Qatar suffer from depression and more than three percent of them require urgent treatment, shows a recent study.
What is more alarming is that a majority of the patients - more than 60 per cent - diagnosed with depression-related problems were treated by doctors who are not trained in the field, apparently with no results or negative results.
The study carried out in four health centres in Doha and its outskirts was presented by Dr Samia Ahmed, Family and Community Medicine Consultant and Director of Airport Health Center at the Qatar Health 2010 Exhibition and Congress held here last week.
Prevalence of depression in Qatar, as shown by the study is higher than the global rate (between 11-20 percent), but is lower compared to other GCC countries.
Prevalence of depression in Saudi Arabia amounted to 29.9 percent while it is even higher in Kuwait- 37.5 percent, said Samia.
Work-related problems have been cited as a major factor that leads to depression with 66.7 percent of the cases falling in this category. Other contributing factors include family disputes (61.9 percent), alcohol (75 percent) and smoking (44 percent). There is no direct link between financial status and depression, according to the study.
A majority of those suffering from depression- 52 percent- were adolescents and youth aged between 18 and 35 years while 32 percent fell in the age group of 35 and 54 years.
Interestingly, only five percent of the patients were aged above 55 years. The prevalence was found to be higher among women of different age groups.
More than 60 percent of patients suffering from depression -related ailments were treated in health centers by doctors who lack training in mental health.
An aged woman was treated for 23 year for back pain which later turned out to be a severe depression related illness, it was disclosed at the session. The study stressed the need for training primary health center doctors in mental health.
Depression-related cases exhaust primary healthcare centers' budgets due to wrong treatment of the cases and related complications, it was pointed out.