Mental Disorders in America
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An
estimated 22.1% of Americans ages 18 and older-about 1 in 5 adults-suffer
from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 1998
U.S. Census residential population estimate, this figure translates to 44.3
million people. 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. 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).
- 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
- Approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the
U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a depressive disorder.
- Nearly twice as many women (12.0 percent) as men (6.6 percent) are affected by a
depressive disorder each year. These figures translate to 12.4 million women and
6.4 million men in the U.S.
- Depressive disorders may be appearing earlier in
life in people born in recent decades compared to the past.
disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.
- In 1997, 30,535 people
died from suicide in the U.S.
- More than 90 percent of people who kill
themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, commonly a depressive disorder or
a substance abuse disorder.
- The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in
white men over age 85.
- The suicide rate in young people increased dramatically
over the last few decades. In 1997, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death
among 15 to 24 year olds.
- Four times as many men than women commit suicide; however, women attempt suicide 2-3 times as often as men.
Approximately 2.2 million American adults, 2 or about 1.1 % of the
population age 18 and older in a given year, 1 have schizophrenia.
affects men and women with equal frequency.
- Schizophrenia often first appears
earlier in men, usually in their late teens or early 20s, than in women, who are
generally affected in their 20s or early 30s.
disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic
stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia,
agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
- Approximately 19.1 million American adults ages 18 to 54, or about 13.3
percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders, eating
disorders, or substance abuse.
- Many people have more than one anxiety disorder.
- Women are more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder.
Approximately twice as many women as men suffer from panic disorder,
post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and
specific phobia, though about equal numbers of women and men have
obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia.
The 3 main types of eating disorders are
anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
- Females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Only
an estimated 5 to 15 % of people with anorexia or bulimia and an
estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder are male.
- In their
lifetime, an estimated 0.5 % to 3.7 % of females suffer from
anorexia and an estimated 1.1 % to 4.2 % suffer from bulimia.
Community surveys have estimated that between 2 % and 5 % of
Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD, one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents,
affects an estimated 4.1 % of youths ages 9 to 17 in a 6-month period.
About 2-3 times more boys than girls are affected.
- ADHD usually becomes
evident in preschool or early elementary years. The disorder frequently persists
into adolescence and occasionally into adulthood.