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Clinical Depression Runs Rampant Throughout the World

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Lower respiratory infections are the number one cause of disability around the world.  But what comes in second place might surprise you.

It’s clinical depression, according to Alize Ferrari, a researcher at Australia's University of Queensland, who says that depressive disorders affect 4.4 percent of the world’s population.

Women are more prone than men to suffer from a disabling depression, which also particularly affects working-class adults.

Meanwhile, it ranks as the leading cause of disability in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia.  Depression rates wound up being highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan.

What accounts for depressive disorders increasing by 38 percent from 1990 to 2010? The study’s authors say it has to do with exploding population growth and longer life expectancies.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio