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Prevalence of depression

Contemporary literature has identified the increasing incidence and prevalence of
depression in Australia. Discuss this phenomenon in relation to the reasons for this
increase. In your answer consider gender-specific differences and the nurse’s role in the
treatment and management of the illness.

Prevalence of depression in Australia

Depression is a serious illness that is associated with low mood for a long period. This makes
people lose interests on things they like or normally enjoy. The patients have reduced energy and
may suffer from sleep disturbances from time to time. In some cases, the patients may feel
irritable and may not be able to concentrate (Hegney et al., 2013). Atlantis and colleagues states
that most people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders are from lower socioeconomic households,
single, lower education and tend to be younger. The trend is similar in postpartum. In
menopause, large percent of women develop depressive episodes (Atlantis et al., 2011).
The purpose of this study is to evaluate treatment and management of depression in Australia.
The study will also explore the risk factors that aggravate depression incidences in Australia
including the role of social economy, drug and substance use, and hormonal influences. The
nurse’s role in therapeutic and non-therapeutic interventions will be evaluated to examine their
effectiveness in managing the risk factors and facilitate quick recovery.
Depression in Children
Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are among the most common illness reported in
acute role. These mental illnesses occur concurrently. Study indicates that 89% of people
diagnosed with depression also suffer from anxiety (Lawson, Rodwell, & Noblet, 2012). In
Australia, statistics of 2012 reported that 13.3% of citizens, aged 16 to 85 years suffer from

Prevalence of depression in Australia

mental illness every year and about 45% of Australians will have depression at one point of their
lives (Fishback, 2012).
The onset of depression begins at late adolescence with adolescence between 18 years and 24
years have the highest prevalence of than the other age group (Lawson, Rodwell, & Noblet,
2012). Among the youths, 25 % Australians suffer from depression and anxiety every year
(Atlantis et al., 2011). The disease burden is measured through mortality, nancial cost, morbidity,
and non-fatal disability. Therefore, it is important to evaluate factors that aggravate the rate of
depression in Australia. This will help the nurses to design effective care plan, and implement
appropriate interventions that will manage the onset and simultaneously reduce the high
incidence rate of depression (Lawson, Rodwell, & Noblet, 2012).
The great recession has resulted into economic crisis globally. This has had negative impacts in
developed countries. This is because businesses reduced their production, shedding a large group
of workers. This has sharply increased unprecedented increase of unemployment rates.
Additionally, the quality of existing employment has also deteriorated across the globe. People
who are lucky to retain their jobs have been forced to work under poor conditions including
working for long hours at low wages and working benefits (Hegney et al., 2013). This resulted to
devastating results on families and communities. The community is affected by downsizing and
massive relocation of young people to other regions to seek for greener pastures. The families
suffer from economic hardship due to job loss and increase in debt as well as bankruptcy.
Consequently, family members, especially children suffer from psychological hardship resulting
to depression (Payne & Uren, 2014).
The increased rate of unemployment and under-employment makes the Australian seek
alternative approaches of relieving stress. This includes binge drinking and substance use.

Prevalence of depression in Australia

Approximately, 500,000 Australians suffer from depression and substance use (Fisher et al.,
2012). Statistics indicates that most of the alcoholics are young people. The growing evidence
indicates that drug use aggravates mental health complications (Brown et al., 2013).
Approximately 37% people reported as drug users suffer concurrently with mental disorders such
as anxiety and mood disorder (Reavley et al., 2011). In fact, the risk of developing mental illness
is four folds higher in people who take alcohol than people who do not. There are three ways in
which drug use and depression co-occurs. To start with, drug use work as mood depressants
during intoxication and lead to serious challenges during withdrawal. This could lead to violation
of law and order in the society through fights as well as arguments. This eventually results to
anxiety and eventually disorders. Depression could also lead to alcohol consumption to improve
the affected person mood and to make them relax. Most people from low-income families will
use drugs and alcohol as an approach of self-medication (Atlantis, Goldney, Eckert, & Taylor,
2011). Therefore, it can be concluded that alcohol use and mental illness is unrelated but they
tend to co-occur. These interactions with each other become worse and negatively influence the
person’s areas of lives such as health, relationships, and work. In fact, alcohol consumption
begins in small doses and becomes more with time. This increases distress-making people
become even more anxious and depressed (Eastwood, Phung, & Barnett, 2011).
Depression has also been associated with hormonal imbalances. Hormones are chemical
messengers that carry vital information to various parts of the body through the blood circulatory
system. The glands include, pituitary gland, thyroid, ovaries, adrenal, and gonads produce the
hormones. These hormones are responsible to maintaining a homeostatic balance between body
functions, and where there is imbalance, there is a possibility to cause mood swings (Fisher et al.,
2012). For instance, the female hormone oxytocin has been associated with maternal influences,

Prevalence of depression in Australia

trust, and cooperation. If there is underproduction or overproduction, the hormones are muted
which results to chaotic functioning of the body and the brain. For example, women diagnosed
with higher levels of testosterone and estrogen during menopause results to increase cancer such
as risk breast cancer. These indirectly result into increased depression. Hormonal disorders are
also associated with influences with sleep patterns and energy levels, which causes depression
(Reavley et al., 2011). Despite the fact that human hormones and neurotransmitters have the
same pathways as well as receptor sites as men, research places women at greater risks of
developing depression (Stanners et al., 2012). It is hypothesized that the episodes of depression
are associated with hormonal changes in the reproduction system such as premenstrual, after
childbirth (postpartum), as well as during the transition to menopause.
Other causal pathways involve the aspect of genetic vulnerability. Research indicates that the
increased corticotrophin-releasing factor increases depressive symptoms. The hypothalamic-
pituitary adrenal axis is regulated through oxidative pathways. According to Tiller, the first
episodes of the onset of depression results in formation of psychosocial stressor. After more
subsequent episodes, the psychosocial stressors increase rapidly and become spontaneous, which
results to severe depressive symptoms. This is common among males than females. However,
there is limited research in this area. There is a need to make more research to make conclusive
deductions (Tiller, 2012).
The comorbid depression causes increased physical and emotional impairment. This is often
associated with a poor prognosis because many people fail to seek treatment for depression early
enough and when they make efforts to seek treatments, the patient does not adhere to medication
therapy. Despite the increased prevalence rates of depression in Australia, service utilization for
psychological disorders is considerably low (35%) (Reavley et al., 2011). Therefore, it is

Prevalence of depression in Australia

imperative to delineate depression from other closely related disorders such as the anxiety, social
phobia, the panic disorder and posttraumatic disorders. The nurses must use the established
diagnostic criteria to delineate between disorders. The nurses should use screening tools that will
guide them delineate between illnesses. An example of the screening tools includes geriatric
depression tool, PHQ (patient health questionnaire), Depression Anxiety Stress scales (DASS)
21 and 42 questionnaire, K10, Spence children’s anxiety scales and the strengths and difficulties
questionnaire. Additionally, the clinical global impression scale has been use effectively in acute
settings (Almeida et al., 2012).
The nurse is required to make extensive research to establish evidence based practice
interventions that will help improve care pathway, including better approaches for assessment,
review, risk assessment, and follow up. This process helps the nurse normalize and to de-
stigmatize depression care. This helps the nurse prepare adequately on how to tackle the issues
that cause depression. Research indicates that comprehensive assessment will be done only if the
nurse is highly skilled (Dury et al., 2013). The nurse should take about 40 minutes to make
patient full assessment. Then active consultations should be done to follow up the patient’s
response, patient information, as well as offering the relevant education. Through follow up
consultations, the nurse can determine if the patient is adhering to medication or there are
incidences of medication non-compliance. This will help establish the effective interventions or
seeking alternative interventions if necessary. If the patient condition is stable, the nurse can
assign the patient some tasks to be done in between the consultations. This empowers the patient
as they become more involved in the treatment process. This provides the patient with greater
responsibility (Brown et al., 2012).

Prevalence of depression in Australia

In summation, the healthcare stakeholders have a huge role in ensuring that the youth health is
maintained and sustained. This study concludes that the main risk factors that aggravates
psychiatric disorders include lower socioeconomic households, single, lower education and
hormonal imbalances. The nurse’s therapeutic as well as non-therapeutic roles are paramount as
they facilitate the establishment of effective interventions and/or seeking alternative
interventions if necessary.

Prevalence of depression in Australia


Almeida, O., Pirkis, J., Kerse, N., Sim, M., Flicker, L., & Snowdon, J. et al. (2012). A
Randomized Trial to Reduce the Prevalence of Depression and Self-Harm Behavior in
Older Primary Care Patients. The Annals Of Family Medicine, 10(4), 347-356.

Atlantis, E., Goldney, R., Eckert, K., & Taylor, A. (2011). Trends in health-related quality of life
and health service use associated with body mass index and comorbid major depression in
South Australia, 1998–2008. Qual Life Res, 21(10), 1695-1704.
Atlantis, E., Goldney, R., Eckert, K., Taylor, A., & Phillips, P. (2011). Trends in health-related
quality of life and health service use associated with comorbid diabetes and major
depression in South Australia, 1998–2008. Social Psychiatry And Psychiatric
Epidemiology, 47(6), 871-877.
Brown, A., Mentha, R., Rowley, K., Skinner, T., Davy, C., & O’Dea, K. (2013). Depression
in Aboriginal men in central Australia: adaptation of the Patient Health Questionnaire 9.
BMC Psychiatry, 13(1), 271.
Brown, A., Scales, U., Beever, W., Rickards, B., Rowley, K., & O’Dea, K. (2012). Exploring
the expression of depression and distress in aboriginal men in central Australia: a
qualitative study. BMC Psychiatry, 12(1), 97.
Drury, V., Craigie, M., Francis, K., Aoun, S., & Hegney, D. (2013). Compassion satisfaction,
compassion fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress in registered nurses in Australia: Phase 2
results. J Nurs Manag, 22(4), 519-531.
Eastwood, J., Phung, H., & Barnett, B. (2011). Postnatal depression and socio-demographic risk:
factors associated with Edinburgh Depression Scale scores in a metropolitan area of New
South Wales, Australia. Aust NZ J Psychiatry, 45(12), 1040-1046.

Fishback, P. (2012). Relief During the Great Depression in Australia and America. Aust Econ

Prevalence of depression in Australia


Hist Rev, 52(3), 221-249.
Fisher, J., Chatham, E., Haseler, S., McGaw, B., & Thompson, J. (2012). Uneven
implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative: findings from a survey of
Australian women’s hospitals. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol, 52(6), 559-564.

Hegney, D., Craigie, M., Hemsworth, D., Osseiran-Moisson, R., Aoun, S., Francis, K., & Drury,
V. (2013). Compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress in
registered nurses in Australia: study 1 results. J Nurs Manag, 22(4), 506-518.

Lawson, K., Rodwell, J., & Noblet, A. (2012). Mental health of a police force: estimating
prevalence of work-related depression in australia without a direct national measure 1,2.
Psychological Reports, 110(3), 743-752.
Payne, J., & Uren, L. (2014). Economic Policy and the Great Depression in a Small Open
Economy. Journal Of Money, Credit And Banking, 46(2-3), 347-370.

Reavley, N., Jorm, A., Cvetkovski, S., & Mackinnon, A. (2011). National depression and anxiety
indices for Australia. Aust NZ J Psychiatry, 45(9), 780-787.
Stanners, M., Barton, C., Shakib, S., & Winefield, H. (2012). A qualitative investigation of the
impact of multimorbidity on GP diagnosis and treatment of depression in Australia. Aging
& Mental Health, 16(8), 1058-1064.
Tiller, J. (2012). Depression and anxiety. Med J Aust, 1(4), 28-31.

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