Major Depressive Disorder Among Adults
While everyone occasionally feels sad, these feelings will typically pass within a few days. When a person has major depressive disorder, they experience a severely depressed mood and activity level that persists two weeks or more. Their symptoms interfere with their daily functioning, and cause distress for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.
Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Additional information about major depressive disorder can be found on NIMH’s depression page.
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) examines the national prevalence of depression each year through the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH’s most recent data are for 2008 and show the prevalence of depression among adults in the United States to be 6.4 percent. The chart below shows this prevalence estimate, as well as those from the preceding 4 years.
Prevalence of Depression Among
U.S. Adults (2004–2008)
Depression does not affect all demographic groups equally. Data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that the prevalence of depression for women is roughly twice that for men. The following chart shows year-over-year depression prevalence estimates for women and men between 2005 and 2008.
12-month Prevalence of Depression
Among All U.S. Adults by Sex
Data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also show that the prevalence of depression differs by age group. The following chart shows year-over-year depression prevalence estimates for 18-25 year olds, 26-49 year olds, and people age 50+ between 2005 and 2008.