Depression is the most common mental disorder in Italian population. Over 2.8 million people suffered from chronic depression during the past 12 months (5.4% people aged 15 and over in 2015). About 1.3 million people (2.5%) suffered from current major depressive symptoms during the past two weeks.
In Italy depression is less widespread than in most European Countries. The prevalence is 1.7% in the age group 15-44 years old compared to 5.2% of the EU-28 average. On the contrary, the prevalence in the elderly population exceeds of 3 percent points the Eu-28 average.
Depression is often associated with severe chronic anxiety. Overall, 7% of people aged 15 years and over suffered from anxiety or chronic depression during the past 12 months (3.7 million people).
The prevalence of depression and severe chronic anxiety increases with age (from 5.8% at age 35-64 years to 14.9% after age 64). Compared to men, the disadvantage of women emerges in adulthood and get worse in elderly people.
Low socio-economic status is associated with anxious-depressive disorders. The prevalence of depression and anxiety doubles in adults with low education compared to higher educated people and triples in the elderly (16.6% compared to 6.3%). In this latter group, however, the differences by income are less significant.
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