By On September 15th, 2008

5% of Americans suffer with depression

According to information from a new study, approximately 5% of Americans 12 years and older suffer with depression. Additionally, among those suffering from depression, 80% relayed that the illness interferes with their daily functioning. According to the CDC, 22% percent of women and 35% of men reported that their depression made it difficult for them to work, to perform household chores, or to have healthy social interactions.

The researchers conducting the study thought that results would reflect a number higher than 5%. “We were really expecting something in the range of 6.5 or even seven percent,” Laura A. Pratt, PhD, author of the study, said. Although the nationwide percentage of those with depression is lower than expected, depression creates huge costs for the U.S. In the year 2000 an estimated cost of $83 billion dollars resulted from the illness, and almost two thirds of that figure was from “…resulting lowered productivity and workplace absenteeism.” Most regrettably only 39% of those with sever depression were reported to receive treatment. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study’s findings:

Dr. Pratt said the survey might not have counted those who were simply prescribed antidepressants by their doctor rather than seeking counseling. She also said rates of treatment are higher than in the past, but might not necessarily meet minimally acceptable requirements.

“Both the rate and quality of treatment need to be improved,” she said.

The researchers said people don’t get treated likely because they don’t realize they have a treatable illness, or that they don’t believe treatment works. Also, they’re afraid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Researchers also said there’s a lack of insurance coverage for mental healthcare.

When the data were analyzed by age, sex, and ethnicity, researchers found that rates of depression were higher in those ages 40 to 59 years old, in women, and in non-Hispanic blacks.

Those in middle-age were more depressed than the elderly and those in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 39 age groups (7.3% versus 4.3%, 4.7%, and 4%, respectively).

Women were more likely than men to be depressed (6.7% versus 4%), and non-Hispanic blacks suffered were more likely to have the illness than Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites (8% versus 6.3% and 4.8%, respectively).

Analysis also showed that the poor are more likely to be depressed than those living above the poverty level.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

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