The Public Interest

The age of depression

Allan V. Horwitz & Jerome C. Wakefield

Winter 2005

AS the New York Times tells the story, Sherri Souza’s husband is a National Guardsman posted in Iraq whose long-anticipated return home was canceled after the Pentagon unexpectedly extended his tour of duty. Like most spouses in this situation, Mrs. Souza is acutely disappointed. She misses her husband, worries about his safety, and is anxious for her family’s future should he be killed or injured. When his scheduled e-mails are late, she becomes distressed and sometimes crawls into bed to await word of his safety. In the past, she might have described herself as very "sad," "lonely," or "worried." Now, however, she characterizes herself as "depressed." She is taking medication for her symptoms.

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