Why is depression not considered a neurological disorder

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

In Germany, an estimated 5% of the population, i.e. around 4 million people, currently suffer from depression. About 1 to 2 people in 100 get sick each year. Depressive episodes occur at any age, the peak of the disease is between the ages of 30 and 40. According to current studies, however, many patients become ill for the first time before the age of 30. The probability of developing depression in the course of life is between 7 and 18%. Women are affected about twice as often as men.
However, many of those affected do not see a doctor, be it out of ignorance, repression or a feeling of shame. Often, however, depression is also not recognized by the family doctor due to its diverse appearance. In addition to medical expertise, it takes a lot of psychiatric experience to diagnose depression quickly and safely.

Once the correct diagnosis is made, the situation is anything but hopeless. In the last few decades a lot has happened in terms of therapy and more than 80% of those affected can be helped permanently and successfully. That is why it is all the more important that the general population is made aware of and educated about this topic: Because depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender and social status.

Of unipolar depression one speaks when depressive phases, but no manic phases occur. If, in addition to the symptoms of depression, lack of drive and lack of interest, there are also phases of unfounded, excessively elevated and distant mood (mania), this is what is known as bipolar disorder in front. The disease is bipolar in about 20% of patients with depression. In recent years there have been indications that bipolar disorders with milder manifest symptoms are even more common and not infrequently remain undetected. Pure mania without a depressive phase is very rare at around 5%.

Both diseases belong to the group of affective disorders. Actually, the term mood disorders instead of affective disorders would be more precise, since it is a disorder of the basic mood and less a disorder of affectivity (upsurge in emotions in exceptional emotional situations) in the actual sense.