Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Psychiatrist: Small Family Size a Cause of Depression

Psychiatrist: Small Family Size a Cause of Depression

HONG KONG, November 2, 2004 ( - Small family size and late marriage may play a significant role in rates of depression in Hong Kong and other Asian regions, according to a leading psychiatrist.

Former president of the World Psychiatric Association, Dr. Norman Sartorius, said, "Depression as an illness has a tendency to appear by the age of 30 and from then on, the prevalence will grow as people get older. The population structure in many countries is that there are few children and many old people. A large part of the middle-aged population is at risk of depression," as reported by the South China Morning Post.

Dr. Sartorius was addressing the 11th scientific meeting of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists at their opening Thursday evening, held in Hong Kong.

"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," he said. Dr. Sartorius, a Swiss psychiatrist, is the author of many books, including Mental Disorders in China.

Dr. Sartorius said that the modern materialistic view of reality has a significant hand in contributing to psychiatric disorders like depression, especially in cities like Hong Kong. "It is always a rule that your feeling of need increases with what you have. The more you have, the more you want," he explained.

Current estimates suggest depression, which affects three percent of people world-wide, may become the second leading cause of disability by 2020.