Chances are good that someone you know suffered or will suffer from a major depressive episode (MDE), according to a nationwide study by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA’s 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)). An estimated 16.5 million people in the United States, one in 13 adults aged 18 or over (7.5 percent), experienced major depression during the study’s one-year time frame. While their May 2009 news release reports that approximately two-thirds of people suffering from a major depressive episode sought help initially, less than half followed up with the recommended mental health professional counseling, took medication for the disorder or both. The research reveals why one-third did not seek even initial help, the rate of people who followed up with counseling or medication, the rates of depression among certain age groups and a significant general health association with the occurrence of a major depressive episode (MDE).
“The most frequently reported reasons for not receiving mental health services among these adults was not being able to afford the cost (43.2 percent), feeling they could handle the problem on their own (29.3 percent), not knowing where to go for services (18.1 percent), not having the time (16.7 percent), having health insurance that did not cover enough treatment (11.3 percent), and concerns about confidentiality (11.1 percent),” according to the SAMHSA news release.
Almost 45,000 civilian, non-institutionalized adults participated in the study. The research found that young people, aged 18 to 25, were slightly more likely to experience a major depressive episode (8.9 percent) as compared to people in the age group of 26 to 49 years (8.5), and that people aged 50 or over were less likely to experience it than both groups (5.8 percent). Almost a quarter (24 percent) of the people who experienced major depression and saw a doctor or mental health professional did not use a prescription medication for the disorder. The rate of MDE among people who reported poor or fair health was greater than three times as many as those who reported excellent health.
As the release reports, “MDE is defined as a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.” Such episodes can last for weeks, months and even longer. Major depression can be severely debilitating, affecting employment, housing, relationships, legal status, health, and safety. Seeking help and following through with mental health counseling, often called psychotherapy, that is shown to help with depression and/or medication prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner (ARNP) is highly recommended if you or someone you know is experiencing depression.
Needless suffering can usually be avoided with psychotherapy or counseling and/or medication.
SAMHSA Nationwide report reveals that 1 in 13 adults experienced major depressive episode in the past year, SAMHSA News Release. Press Office, May 19, 2009, Internet source at http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/0905184956.aspx
SAMHSA 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Internet source at http://oasbeta.samhsa.gov/2k9/149/MDEamongAdults.cfm
© Copyright 2009 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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