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BUSINESSES CAN REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS BY TREATING WORKER DEPRESSION, EXPERT SAYS

 BUSINESSES CAN REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS
 BY TREATING WORKER DEPRESSION, EXPERT SAYS
 NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses are skimping on health care for depressive illness at a high cost in physical illnesses, lost productivity and sick leave that stem from the depression, according to Dr. Paul Wender, of the National Foundation for Depressive Illness (NAFDI).
 Dr. Wender, a prominent biopsychiatrist and chairman of NAFDI, cited estimates from the National Institute of Mental Health, that American business loses more than $27 billion every year in lost productivity, absenteeism and unnecessary medical expenses.
 "Just treating depressive illness would greatly reduce these costs," he said. "Nowadays, 90 percent of depressive illness is curable, often in several weeks through drug therapy. Major depression is always caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain and can only be successfully treated with medical intervention."
 Dr. Wender quoted studies by the RAND Corporation, which show that depression is more debilitating and results in more days in bed than back, lung or digestive problems, heart pain, high blood pressure or diabetes.
 "Business leaders need to understand that drug therapy today is an accepted, proven, closed-ended and cost effective treatment for depression," Dr. Wender said.
 "While Employee Assistance Program counselors can successfully treat employees suffering from stress and "the blues" with short-term talk therapy," he said, "they cannot medically diagnose and treat major depressive illness."
 "The only way American business can stop this terrible toll is by treating depressive illness as the physical illness that it is, and reimbursing for its treatment at the see level as other physical illness," Dr. Wender said.
 The National Foundation for Depressive Illness (NAFDI) was founded in 1983 to correct the myths surrounding the disease and help reverse the devastating effects depression has on the individual and our society. NAFDI's purpose is to inform the public, primary health care providers, other health care professionals and corporations about depression and manic depression and provide a source of information about correct diagnosis and treatment and availability of support groups.
 For a recorded message about the symptoms and treatment of depression, call 800-248-4344.
 -0- 4/16/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr. Wender available for interviews./
 /CONTACT: Debbi Honorof of NAFDI, 212-268-4260/ CO: National Foundation for Depressive Illness ST: New York IN: HEA SU:


PS -- NYFNS4 -- 9045 04/16/92 07:33 EDT
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Date:Apr 16, 1992
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