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A SAMHSA/NIMH report, “Past Year Mental Disorders Among Adults in the United States”, discusses details on the prevalence of psychiatric conditions and disorders, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic symptoms and substance use disorders.

According to this report it is estimated that 22.5% of Americans, representing 51.2 million people, suffered during the past year from at least one or more mental disorders among adults. Seventeen million adult Americans or 7.4% of adults in the country, had mood disorders, which include bipolar disorders and major depressive disorders. To be clear, nearly 25% of American adults suffered from one or more diagnosable mental disorders in the last year, including disorders involving substance abuse.

There were three different mood disorders included in the study, which were major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar I disorder, and dysthymic disorder. To be classified as a mood disorder the person must have an elevated or depressed mood, and/or an increase or decrease in their involvement or interest in enjoyable activities. People with mood disorders tend to be irritable, persistently angry, often responding to things with outbursts of anger, they tend to become overly frustrated by minor things and often blame others.

In order to diagnose someone with a mood disorder certain criteria must be met: the problems they have related to mood must indicate a change in the person’s usual functioning. This change must also accompany a clinically significant impairment or distress in occupational, social, or in other vital areas of functioning.

According to this SAMHSA/NIMH study 7.4% of mental disorders among adults all adults (17 million people) involved at least one mood disorder in the prior year. Among those mood disorders, major depressive disorder was most commonly experienced, representing 6% of adults (13.8 million people). Next in line was dysthymic disorder, experienced by 1.7% (3.9 million people), followed by bipolar I disorder at 0.4% (0.9 million people).

In looking at mental disorders among adults as a whole, 14.9% of adults in America reported suffering from one mental disorder and this includes substance abuse problems, 4.1% report having suffered from two mental disorders, like substance abuse along with depression, and 2.2% report having three or even more mental disorders, like substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.

With regard mental disorders among adults involving anxiety disorders, 5.7% of American adults (12.9 million adults) report suffering from panic disorder, agoraphobia or social phobia in the prior year.

The report says that 7.8% of adults (17.9 million adults) suffered from a substance use disorder in one form or another in the prior year.

Mental disorders among adults involving Adjustment disorders were prevalent as well, having been reported by 6.9% of adults (16 million adults) in the prior year. An adjustment disorder is diagnosed when someone is emotionally, functionally or behaviorally impaired. These symptoms are the results of a specific stressor. Fortunately only 0.6% of adults (1.3 million adults) reported suffering from symptoms of psychosis in the prior year.

The data in this report show that mental disorders among adults vary according to age and gender, which revealed that for the most part, more women suffered from mood disorders and anxiety than men. However more men than women had substance use disorders. Overall, adults over 50 years of age had lower levels of substance use, anxiety, and mood disorders than younger adults in the study.

Unfortunately, according to national surveys approximately half (49.5%) of adults with a lifetime history of major depressive disorder had never received treatment for depression and a similar percentage (48.4%) had not received any mental health care in the past year.  Only about one-third of young adults (18 to 25) with any mental disorder receives any type of mental health treatment. In Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide.  In 2011, the latest year for which state-specific figures are available, Tennessee’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, translating into 938 reported suicide deaths. This rate and number are down from previous years but are still above the national average of 12.4 per 100,000. Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment. If you or a loved one needs treatment for depression, anxiety, substance use or co-occurring disorders, please call us!

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