Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Are Depression Statistics Important?

How many people suffer from depression? What kind of depression is the most common? Do you wonder if you are alone in your depression?

Depression statistics in the United States

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for the age group 15 to 44, and is among the leading causes of disability worldwide. By the year 2020, WHO predicts that depression will be the second most common health issue in the world. Most people with depression never seek treatment, although it is considered extremely treatable, with 80% to 90% of people who are treated experiencing improvement in both mental and physical health.

Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder are the two most common types of depression.

Major depression affects about 8% of the population of the United States, age 18 or older, or about 15 million people. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime; but more often, someone who has experienced one episode of major depression is likely to experience recurrences throughout their lifetime. The onset of major depression can occur at any age; however, most people are diagnosed in their late 20s or early 30s. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that it is more prevalent in the 45 to 64 years of age. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with some type of depression.

Dysthymic disorder affects approximately 3.3 American adults (age 18 or older), or about 1.5% of the population. People with dysthymic disorder may also experience episodes of major depression, in conjunction with their dysthymia. This disorder is characterized by long periods (two years or more) of symptoms that are less severe than major depression and typically less debilitating, but which can prevent a person from being fully functional or feeling well. The majority of these patients are first diagnosed in their early 30s.

Bipolar disorder is estimated to affect approximately 5.7 million Americans over the age of 18, and typical onset is in the early to mid 20s. Early onset of symptoms may occur at a much younger age, as young as 9 or 10 years of age, but this is rare.

Depression is also linked to other health problems. People with depression are four times more likely to have a heart attack, and are at increased risk of dying from a second heart attack. Depression is also known to weaken the immune system and lead to other medical illnesses. The costs associated with health care, lost work time and disability are estimated to be near $100 billion dollars a year in the United States alone.

Why are depression statistics important?

As you can see, depression is a debilitating and costly condition that is related to secondary health issues that can be life-threatening. Most people who don't seek treatment either don't realize their problems are due to depression, or they are embarrassed to seek help. Recognizing the symptoms in yourself and others in order to effect treatment is an important factor in living a productive and enjoyable life.

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