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Article title: The Numbers Count: NIMH
Conditions: Mental illness, depressive disorders, depression, dysthymic disorder, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, agoraphobia, Specific phobia (type of Phobias), eating disorder, anorexia, Autism, Alzheimer's disease
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 22.1 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about 1 in 5 adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 When applied to the 1998 U.S. Census residential population estimate, this figure translates to 44.3 million people. 2 In addition, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders-major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 3 Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time.
In the U.S., mental disorders are diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV). 4
Depressive disorders encompass major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is included because people with this illness have depressive episodes as well as manic episodes.
Major Depressive Disorder
- Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and established market economies worldwide. 3
- Major depressive disorder affects approximately 9.9 million American adults,5 or about 5.0 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. 1
- Nearly twice as many women (6.5 percent) as men (3.3 percent) suffer from major depressive disorder each year. These figures translate to 6.7 million women and 3.2 million men. 5
- While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the average age at onset is the mid-20s. 4
- Symptoms of dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression) must persist for at least 2 years in adults (1 year in children) to meet criteria for the diagnosis. Dysthymic disorder affects approximately 5.4 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older during their lifetime. 1 This figure translates to about 10.9 million American adults. 5
- About 40 percent of adults with dysthymic disorder also meet criteria for major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder in a given year. 1
- Dysthymic disorder often begins in childhood, adolesc.ence, or early adulthood. 4
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Approximately 2.4 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 1.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder. 12
- Panic disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. 11
- About 1 in 3 people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia, a condition in which they become afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack. 11
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Approximately 3.3 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 2.3 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have OCD. 12
- The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood or adolescence. 11
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Approximately 5.2 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 3.6 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD. 12
- PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood. 16
- About 30 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war. 17 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
- Approximately 4.0 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 2.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have GAD. 12
- GAD can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. 11
Agoraphobia and Specific Phobia
- Approximately 5.3 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 3.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have social phobia. 12
- Social phobia typically begins in childhood or adolescence. 11
- Agoraphobia involves intense fear and avoidance of any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of developing sudden panic-like symptoms. Approximately 3.2 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 2.2 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have agoraphobia. 12
- Specific phobia involves marked and persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation. Approximately 6.3 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 4.4 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have some type of specific phobia. 12
The 3 main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
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NIH Publication No. 01-4584
1 Regier DA, Narrow WE, Rae DS, et al. The de facto mental and addictive disorders service system. Epidemiologic Catchment Area prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1993; 50(2): 85-94.
2 Narrow WE. One-year prevalence of mental disorders, excluding substance use disorders, in the U.S.: NIMH ECA prospective data. Population estimates based on U.S. Census estimated residential population age 18 and over on July 1, 1998. Unpublished.
3 Murray CJL, Lopez AD, eds. Summary: The global burden of disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambridge, MA: Published by the Harvard School of Public Health on behalf of the World Health Organization and the World Bank, Harvard University Press, 1996. https://www.who.int/msa/mnh/ems/dalys/intro.htm
5 Narrow WE. One-year prevalence of depressive disorders among adults 18 and over in the U.S.: NIMH ECA prospective data. Population estimates based on U.S. Census estimated residential population age 18 and over on July 1, 1998. Unpublished.
8 Hoyert DL, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 1997. National Vital Statistics Report, 47(19). DHHS Publication No. 99-1120. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 1999. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvs47_19.pdf
12 Narrow WE, Rae DS, Regier DA. NIMH epidemiology note: prevalence of anxiety disorders. One-year prevalence best estimates calculated from ECA and NCS data. Population estimates based on U.S. Census estimated residential population age 18 to 54 on July 1, 1998. Unpublished.
20 American Psychiatric Association Work Group on Eating Disorders. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with eating disorders (revision). American Journal of Psychiatry, 2000; 157(1 Suppl): 1-39.
23 Shaffer D, Fisher P, Dulcan MK, et al. The NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version 2.3 (DISC-2.3): description, acceptability, prevalence rates, and performance in the MECA Study. Methods for the Epidemiology of Child and Adolescent Mental Disorders Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1996; 35(7): 865-77.
24 Wolraich ML, Hannah JN, Baumgaertel A, Feurer ID. Examination of DSM-IV criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a county-wide sample. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 1998; 19(3): 162-8.
28 National Institute on Aging. Progress report on Alzheimer's disease, 1999. NIH Publication No. 99-4664. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Aging, 1999. https://www.alzheimers.org/pubs/prog99.htm
Updated: January 01, 2001
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