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Zubin Bhagwagar

and George R. Heninger

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date: 05 July 2022

Major depressive disorder is a serious, recurrent illness which levies a crippling toll on individuals, families, and society in general. The importance of depression as a major public health problem is emphasized by findings from the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease survey in showing that in 1990 it was the fourth largest cause of burden of disease (i.e. years of life lost due either to premature mortality or to years lived with a disability). It has been estimated that by the year 2020 it is expected to be the second largest cause of burden of disease. Depression is underdiagnosed and frequently under-treated, and depressed individuals have a much higher risk for suicide. The primary treatment for depression involves the use of antidepressant drugs, and it is therefore important that clinicians become familiar with and adept in utilizing this important group of compounds. Although primarily used for the treatment of depression, drugs within this category also have a number of other important uses. A thorough understanding of the pharmacology of antidepressants will aid the clinician in the selective use of these drugs for patients with depression as well as patients with a number of other disorders.

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