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Small families contribute to depression

Posted - Oct. 29, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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HONG KONG, Oct 29, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Small families and late marriages may contribute to growing numbers of people suffering from depression in Asian countries, a leading psychiatrist says.

Norman Sartorius, former president of the World Psychiatric Association, said smaller, later families were creating an older population, putting strain on middle-aged people, an age group that is most susceptible to depression, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.

The Swiss psychiatrist, author of "Mental Disorders in China," was speaking at a meeting of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists in Hong Kong Thursday evening.

Sartorius said the population structure in Asian countries -- fewer children and many old people -- put a larger percentage at risk of depression.

"In China, they have introduced the one-child policy, but in many countries in Asia, the one-child policy has instituted itself without any need for government policy," Sartorius said.

He also pointed out that material prosperity added to increased desire, and the quest to satiate that desire put stress on the individual. As Asian countries advance materially their populations face this new pressure.

The psychiatrist said depression was often not recognized or acknowledged, especially in Asia.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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