Depression Statistics: Are We Really Happy?

Maybe we are not happy. At least, the increasing rates of depression do not indicate so. Quite understandably, America ranked 14th in the World Happiness Report 2017. While depression is not the only reason for this, the role of mental health in the overall happiness score cannot be ruled out. In fact, depression statistics are a warning sign for clinicians and patients, as well as health policymakers.

Depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) is a potentially serious medical condition. Continuous low moods, physiological changes, and suicidal thoughts are the hallmarks of this debilitating illness. Besides, it carries a substantial risk of other negative health outcomes. For example, heart diseases, drug abuse, and other mental illnesses.

6 Things You Should Know About Depression Statistics inthe US

  1. Depression is among the most prevalent mental disorders in the US. In 2015, approximately 3 million US adolescents of the ages 12 to 17 years had one or more episodes of MDD. As a matter of fact, this is equivalent to 12.5% of the US adolescent population. This is according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In the same year, approximately 10.3 million US adults of the ages 18 or more years had MDD. In fact, it was the reason for severe impairment in these patients. This is equivalent to 4.3% of all U.S. adults.
  2. In comparison to men, women have twice the risk of developing symptoms of depression. Also, a significant fraction of women is more likely to develop it after having a baby.
  3. The risk peaks through ages 45 to 64. In fact, one episode of MDD significantly increases the risk of having another episode within a short time.
  4. Depression and its effects cost the US $210 billion per year. Individuals with depression spend almost double the amount of money for health services than those without its diagnosis.
  5. Only half of the individuals with MDD receive a treatment for it. Among them, only 20% get the treatment that complies with current practice guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association (APA)
  6. The swelling drug market correlates with depression statistics. According to a 2017 report by Variant Market Research, the total market value of antidepressant drugs will reach $18 billion by 2024. This might be a healthy growth for drug manufacturers. Nevertheless, it does not indicate any significant improvement in mental health status.

Depression Statistics:  What You Can Do

After reading these scary depression statistics, you might be worrying about this looming public health issue. And this is quite understandable.

But, you can take certain steps now. That way, you might be able to optimize treatment outcomes.

  • It is treatable. This is by far the best news if you or anyone in your family is struggling with it. The right combination of medications and psychotherapy can bring them back to themselves. There are a variety of medications that the US FDA has approved for treating it. In any case, since it is unique to each individual, what works for you may be different for anybody else and vice versa. The doctors often use a trial and error approach during the course of treatment. In addition, psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, can give you certain skills to handle stressful situations better.

Pro-tip: The US FDA recommends family members to watch the patient closely. This is more important during the first few weeks after starting a medication. Also, individuals under 25 years need extra special care.

  • Certain factors increase the risk of depression. Take special care if you have a history of depression in your family. Also, if you are a female or have just delivered a baby, you are more likely to experience the symptoms.

Watch for the 10 telltale signs that may include:

  1. Feeling sad and empty for most days of the week
  2. A negative outlook towards life in almost every aspect
  3. Hopelessness and helplessness
  4. Extreme restlessness and irritability
  5. Inability to gain pleasure from the activities that were once rejoiced
  6. Problems with sleep, focus, or even memory
  7. Excessive or too little sleep
  8. Loss or gain of weight without any major physical illness
  9. Suicidal thoughts and attempts
  10. Generalized pain in the absence of any physical cause

Pro-tip: If one or more of these symptoms linger for more than 14 days on a continuous basis, seek immediate medical help. Remember that feeling low during certain times in life is normal. But if it causes significant problems or persists, you should talk to your doctor.

  • There are different types of depression. The most common ones are persistent depressive disorder (PDD or dysthymia), psychotic depression, and perinatal depression (baby blues). Moreover, some patients may also have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression associated with bipolar disorder. The severity of the symptoms varies depending on the type.

Pro-tip: The classical symptoms are invariably present in all these types. Moreover, the treatment approach is also similar.

  • Depression may lead to suicide. This is the most terrifying and damaging effect one could imagine. Regrettably, some medications may also lead to the same fate. This is the reason why experts recommend a “black box” warning on each antidepressant. American men are four times more likely to commit successful suicide compared to the women. This is according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pro-tip: Watch for the warning signs of suicide in your loved ones. Take extra care if they already have a diagnosis of depression or are taking medications for it.

  1. Extreme mood swings or violent behavior
  2. Social isolation and withdrawal
  3. Showing a hatred towards life or what’s going on. They may unknowingly talk about it with their friends or family members
  4. Signs of substance or alcohol abuse

Want To Know More?

To learn more about depression, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.


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