A new report from National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that about 8 percent of Americans said they were depressed, but most of them aren’t getting any kind of treatment.
Depression is a serious medical illness that can affect a person’s private and professional life, mood, character, mental abilities (such as focus and decision making) and general well-being. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe. According to NCHS experts, nearly 8 percent of Americans face depression.
The report says about 90 percent of people with severe depression and 50 percent of the people with mild depression said they encountered difficulties at work, at home and in overall social life.
Previous studies have shown that severe depression gets the best treatment results when combining psychological counseling with medication. However, the NCHS report reveals 65 percent of depressed people didn’t reach for professional help. Only thirty-five percent with severe depression said they went to a mental health specialist over the past year.
“The fact that people aren’t getting treatment is disturbing. People with severe depression should be getting therapy from a mental health professional, and they should also in a lot of cases be on a more complicated medication regimen that requires a psychiatrist to treat them. The fact that only 35% have seen a mental health professional in the last year was pretty alarming,”
Dr Laura Pratt, NCHS epidemiologist, recently said.
The report also shows that women were more depressed than men in all age groups. About 9,5 percent of American women and 5,6 percent of American men reported depressive symptoms between 2009 and 2012. These symptoms ranged from mild to severe.
Especially, middle-aged women between 40 and 50 have 12,3 percent rate of depression. NCHS researchers say many of these women face high social pressures, aging or dieing parents, professional tasks and family commitment that may aggravate mental conditions.
The new report also revealed that 15 percent of the people living below the federal poverty line faced depression, while only 6.2 percent of the other people developed this mental condition.
About 5 percent of people aged 12 to 17 said they had depression, while adults aged 40 to 59 had this condition. Nevertheless, seniors above 60 were less depressed than all age groups – 5.4 percent.
Researchers say the report only showed estimated values since depressed people often refused to participate in surveys about depression, while people living in mental health institutions and patients cured of depression weren’t included in the report.
Dr Pratt said the report was meant to raise awareness about depression and encourage people to go and look for professional help.