Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.
In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders.
Major Depressive Disorder
– Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
– Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
– While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.
– Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.
– Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
– The median age of onset for bipolar disorders is 25 years.
– Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year,11 have schizophrenia.
– Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency.
– Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties.
– Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
– Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
– Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse.
– Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.
– Approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder.
– Panic disorder typically develops in early adulthood (median age of onset is 24), but the age of onset extends throughout adulthood.
– About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia, a condition in which the individual becomes afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
– Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.
– PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years.
– About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
– Specific phobia involves marked and persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation.
– Approximately 19.2 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 8.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have some type of specific phobia.
– Specific phobia typically begins in childhood; the median age of onset is seven years.
Are mental disorders a bigger problem than we’d like to admit?
Have you or a loved one struggled with a mental disorder? If so, did you feel that you had the resources to cope with the situation?
Do you think that it would help the situation with our soldiers affected by war if we as a culture responded better to the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders?
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