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How Many People Suffer From Depression

Approximately 21.5 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 13.7 million women and 7.8 million men in the U.S.

  • Pre-schoolers represent the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers—more than one million—are clinically depressed.
  • The rate of increase of depression among children is 23%.
  • In most developed countries, 15% of the population suffers from severe depression.
  • An estimated 30% of women are depressed.
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently receiving any treatment.
  • An estimated 15% of depressed people commit suicide.
  • By 2020, depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. Furthermore, studies indicate that depression is a contributing factor to fatal coronary disease.

340 million people in the world suffer from depression and rising. 1 in 4 women will suffer from depression. Postnatal depression affects 14 per cent of new mothers. 1 in 10 men will suffer from depression (this statistic is not absolutely correct because more women are apt to see their doctor for depression than men do.) Depression strikes all races, rich and poor.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 121 million people worldwide have some form of depression, although less than 25 percent have access to effective treatment [source: WHO]. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 14.8 million adult Americans experience clinical depression in any given year — or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population over 18 [source: NIH Depressive]. Women are more likely to have major depression than are men, and the average age for a bout of clinical depression to set in is 32 years old. Older adults also are depressed, however. In fact, people 65 years and older commit suicide at a higher rate than the national average [source: Senior Health]. The good news is that NIH statistics show that the percentage of all adults in the U.S. who are depressed went down a full percentage point from 2007 to 2008.


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