One in five American adults mentally ill in past year

NEW YORK Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:19am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - One in five adults in the United States, or nearly 50 million people, suffered mental illnesses in 2010, with women and young adults suffering disproportionately, a government report released on Thursday found.

The survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found women were more likely than men (23 percent versus 16.8 percent) to have experienced a mental illness, while the rate of mental illness among people aged 18 to 25 was twice that of those aged 50 and older.

The administration defined mental illness among adults as diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorders, excluding developmental disorders and substance use.

The survey found that 5 percent of American adults, or 11.4 million people, surveyed in 2010 had suffered a serious mental illness in the past year that substantially interfered with their lives.

According to the report, about 8.7 million American adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, with 2.5 million making suicide plans and 1.1 million attempting to take their own lives.

Americans suffering mental illnesses were three times more likely to have developed substance dependence or substance abuse disorders than adults who had not experienced mental illness.

Among youths aged 12 to 17, 8 percent -- or 1.9 million teenagers -- experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, defined as a period of at least 2 weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest.

Those teenagers who experienced a depressive episode also had twice the rate of illicit drug use than teenagers who had not experienced depression.

The administration surveyed 67,500 people aged 12 and older in person around the United States.

The report is available here: 1.usa.gov/zUrdpz.

(This storyclarifies the headline and first and fourth paragraphs to reflect that data is from 2010 and changes wording in parentheses in paragraph two in story posted Jan 19, 2012 as 20120119elin007)

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Comments (3)
ConstFundie wrote:
Thankfully Big Pharma has us covered. Every conceivable mental and emotional state labeled as potentially disease and controllable with the the proper “medication”. Ka-Ching!

Jan 19, 2012 12:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ojdegej wrote:
Considering that “mental illness” has been expanded to the point of including even Normal human frailties or reactions to stress as some kind of disorder to treat with prescription drugs , it’s not a surprise when a profit motivated entity labels 20% of Americans as ill.

It’s a racket , pure and simple . Misdiagnosis and outright fabrication may be rampant in the psychiatry profession and there is no test beyond a capricious check list and a docs opinion that entraps millions and generates billions$ in profits.

Jan 20, 2012 2:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
lphock wrote:
Eventually, the emerging countries will catch up in survey numbers – when they have adequate psycho-medical facilities available. 20% cracko in US – just a touch of media sensationalism.

Jan 20, 2012 8:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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