Depression is more debilitating than diabetes, asthma, arthritis, or angina—and people suffering from chronic illness and depression are in worse health than those diagnosed with any other combination of diseases, the BBC reports. "These results indicate the urgency of addressing depression as a public health priority," says the author of a new study.
The WHO study of a quarter-million people in 60 countries reveals that doctors often overlook the role mental health plays in illness. Moreover, mental health treatments are less available, with "patients waiting months or even years" for attention, one doctor says. But researchers say depression, though potentially more dangerous than other chronic conditions, is relatively easy to diagnosis and treat.