[Depression in Sub-Saharan Africa].

Abstract

We now have a better knowledge of the specific features of depression in sub-Saharan Africa. Anthropologically speaking, the Western model is irrelevant. Depression in sub-Saharan Africa involves the relationship of the subject to himself or others in a mode specific to African cultures. Ignoring this fact can lead to simplistic ethnocentrism. From a clinical standpoint, depressive illness characterized by somatic manifestations, delusions of persecution, and anxiety are increasingly uncommon. As African societies modernize, these traditional forms are being gradually supplanted by states with symptoms and prognoses more like those observed in industrialized countries. Hybrid depressive syndromes are now the most widespread. Epidemiologically the notion widely held only a few decades ago that depression is a rare occurrence in Africa has now been dispelled. Many studies have been conducted to determine the exact incidence, age distribution, and sex ratio but more precise data is still needed. This investigation will require improvement in screening and diagnostic methods which must be not only suitable for clinical use but also adaptable to local conditions. This is also true with regard to management which has the same goals as anywhere else in the world. Treatment facilities are different in urban and rural areas but care is often dispensed in unconventional settings and may be combined with traditional methods. Drug availability is limited by problems involving supply and cost. This explains why electro-convulsive therapy which was introduced into sub-Saharan Africa long ago still plays a major role in the treatment of depression.

Cite this paper

@article{Perez1998DepressionIS, title={[Depression in Sub-Saharan Africa].}, author={Scott Perez and A M Junod}, journal={Médecine tropicale : revue du Corps de santé colonial}, year={1998}, volume={58 2}, pages={168-76} }