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Major_Depression

A Primer on Depressive, Bipolar and Anxiety Illnesses
Facts for Policymakers

Mental Disorders in America

Mental disorders are common illnesses in the United States. An estimated 22 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in five adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. Mental illness is second only to hypertension in prevalence in the U.S. When applied to the 2000 U.S. Census population estimate, this figure translates to 45 million people.   

Leading Causes of Disability in the U.S.

Three of the ten leading causes of disabilities in the U.S. are mental illnesses -- major depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Schizophrenia, a serious mental illness, is another major cause of disability in the U.S.

The U.S. Surgeon General reported that fewer than one-third of adults and half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive any level of treatment.

The good news is that mental illness is much more treatable now than it was even 20 years ago. Medications and therapies developed in past two decades have moved mental illness from a shameful problem that was not discussed to a routine chronic condition with ready treatments.

Unfortunately, treatments are dramatically under utilized to the detriment of individuals who suffer pain and anguish. Undertreatment ultimately leads to higher costs for state governments because patients receive care in more expensive settings like emergency departments and are hospitalized or end up in jails and prisons.

Three of the 10 leading causes of disabilities in the U.S. are mental disorders -- major depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Schizophrenia, a serious mental illness, is another major cause of disability in the U.S.

Facts for Policymakers Contents

Treatable Causes of Disability: Depression

Treatable Causes of Disability: Bipolar Disorder

Treatable Causes of Disability: Anxiety Disorders

Conclusions


Policymakers Toolkit Home


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