Depression might seem like a mild mental condition, but it can have some major consequences. It is something that should always be taken seriously. Everyone feels sad or lonely from time to time, but when those feelings persist and things that were once enjoyed no longer seem to be appealing, it may be time to evaluate the risks of depression.
6.7% of the US adult population is affected by a major depressive disorder over the course of an average year. That’s about 15 million people in total.
Depression can happen at any age – even in young children. The median age of diagnosis for a major depressive order is 32, but 1 in 8 adolescents may qualify for a clinical depression diagnosis. Why is paying attention to one’s mental health so important? Because when depression exists, people are 4x more likely to have a heart attack without any risk factors for having one.
What The Depression Demographics Look Like
- People in the 45-65 age demographic [4.6%] are the most likely to be diagnosed with depression. The 18-24 age demographic [2.8%] is the least likely to be diagnosed.
- African-Americans/Blacks [12.8%] and Hispanics [11.4%] are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than Caucasians/Whites [7.9%].
- 10% of women experience at least some symptoms of depression in the weeks after having a baby.
- Up to 80% of all depression cases can be effectively treated with medications and/or structured forms of psychotherapy, yet 80% of people with depression symptoms are not receiving any treatment whatsoever.
- The number of people diagnosed with depression increased by about 20% each year.
- People who have become recently unemployed or have been recently divorced are the most likely to experience depression.
- People with a history of obesity, heart disease, or sleep disorders also have a higher depression diagnosis rate.
- A lack of education or a lack of access to medical insurance may also be contributing risk factors to depression.
- Married women are more likely to be depressed than unmarried women, but unmarried men are more likely to be depressed than married men.
- “Unhappily” married women are three times more likely to be depressed than unhappily married men.
- The prevalence of depression ranges from 4.8% in North Dakota to 14.8% in Mississippi.
- Suicide rates in elderly men are higher than any other age group, with untreated depression thought to be a contributing factor.
One of the common expressions we see today on social media is that “all lives matter.” If this were the case, then why is depression often ignored when discussing the quality of life people are experiencing today? Consider the fact that the leading factor in suicide attempts is depression and that suicide rates are greater than even the homicide rates in the US, shouldn’t we be placing a greater emphasis on treating those who remain untreated? Ignoring this demographic is only costing lives. It’s time to take being pro-life seriously.
Depression And Its Co-Occurance Factor
- 1 in 4 cancer patients will experience depression at some point during their treatment sessions.
- Up to 27% of people who suffer a stroke, even if it is a mild TIA stroke, will experience depression at some point after the event.
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 33% of heart attack survivors will experience depression. This is the same percentage of people who learn they have been infected by HIV.
- 1 in 2 Parkinson’s Disease patients will experience depression after diagnosis.
- People with an eating disorder are very likely to experience depression: up to 75% of people with either anorexia or bulimia report symptoms.
- Both diabetes and substance abuse see depression rates that range from 8.5% to nearly 30%.
- 20,000 suicides in the United States each year can be directly attributed to depression. For every two homicides that occur, there are three suicides.
- Young males age 15 to 24 are at highest risk for suicide, with a ratio of males to females at 7:1.
- The death rate from suicide is higher than for murder, heart disease, chronic liver disease, or even Alzheimer’s disease.
- 40% of people who are diagnosed with PTSD will also be diagnosed with depression.
- 2.6% of people with depression will also be affected by bipolar disorder.
Depression is a natural side-effect to something difficult in one’s life. For many, an unexpected health challenge can quickly bring about the symptoms of depression. Yet anything that creates isolation for an individual also increases the risks of depression being present. We often look at a disease like Parkinson’s, mental disorders, or addictions as a gateway to depression, but so can certain lifestyle choices. A stay-at-home parent with no community connections beyond their spouse can be just as isolated as someone struggling with alcoholism.
The Impact of Depression on Women and the Elderly
- Women are 2x more likely to experience the symptoms of depression over the course of any given year when compared to men – no matter what their racial, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status may be.
- 1 in 4 women will experience depression at least once in their lives.
- The hip bone mineral density of women with a history of major depression was found to be 10-15% lower than normal for their age–so low that their risk of hip fracture increased by 40% over 10 years.
- Studies suggest that women who experience major depression after childbirth very often have had prior depressive episodes even though they may not have been diagnosed or treated.
- 6 million people in the 65+ age demographic will experience depression, only 10% of them will ever receive treatment for this condition.
- 1 in 5 US households is caring for an elderly relative right now. The depression rates for caregivers may be as high as 58%.
- The suicide rate for older adults is 50% higher than it is for the general population in the United States.
- For people in the 15-44 age demographic, the World Health Organization states that depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
- Depression accounts for close to $12 billion in lost workdays each year. Additionally, more than $11 billion in other costs accrue from decreased productivity due to symptoms that decrease energy, change work habits, or create problems with concentration, memory, and decision-making.
Because women are affected by depression at double the rate of men [and sometimes more in some years], this health issue must be considered part of the wage gap equation. Millennial women have the lowest overall pay gap for doing the same work in the same job position as Millennial men – it’s just $0.09. Millennial women also have the lowest risk factors for experiencing depression as many are waiting to have children, establish long-term relationships, and are instead preferring to focus on their career. Could untreated depression be what is holding women back in the modern workplace? It’s a question we should examine more carefully.
The Actual Cost of Depression on Society
- Depression disorders cost the US more than $42 billion per year, which accounts for about 30% of the total mental health budget each year.
- More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services – people treated for depression often seek out help when they experience illnesses which mimic their mental health symptoms.
- People with depression are 6x more likely to be hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder.
- 1.5% of the US adult population is suffering from what is known as PDD [Persistent Depressive Disorder], which entails depression symptoms which last for a minimum of 2 years.
- The American Journal of Psychiatry found that major depression rates for American adults increased from 3.33% to 7.06% from 1991 through 2002.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months and is thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight. People who live in the north are more affected and SAD affects up to 6% of US citizens each year.
- The most serious form of depression, psychotic depression, occurs in about 5% of those who suffer from the symptoms of major depression.
It’s time to start taking depression seriously. This is particularly true in regards to white men who are 85 years or older, many of who have some form of a depressive illness. Elderly men feel their bodies breaking down, destroying their masculine image, and without adequate coping mechanisms in place, can quickly lead to illness. We cannot underestimate the power of this mental illness. It is important to realize that if you’re suffering from depression, then you are not alone. There is help available. Start treatment early and it is often much easier to control the issue. The best defense against joining the depression demographics is to be aware of your risk factors.