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.

Treatment/Services Use5

Major depressive disorder among adults. Treatment/Services use as a percent of those with a disorder. 12-month healthcare use: 51.7%. Those with disorder that received minimally adequate treatment: 19.6%.

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References

  1. Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27.
  2. Ibid
  3. Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Demler O, Jin R, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):593-602.
  4. Ibid
  5. Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Koretz D, Merikangas KR, Rush AJ, Walters, EE, Wang PS. The epidemiology of major depressive disorder: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Journal of the American Medical Association. 2003 Jun;289(23):3095-3105.
  6. Wang PS, Lane M, Olfson M, Pincus HA, Wells KB, Kessler RC. Twelve month use of mental health services in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):629-640.

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)

Prevalence of depression among U.S. adults (2004-2008). The data follows the format year: percent of adults. Semicolons separate data pairs. 2004: 7.9%; 2005: 7.3%; 2006: 7.2%; 2007: 7.5%; 2008: 6.4%. Data courtesy of SAMHSA.

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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

12-month prevalence of depression among all U.S. adults by sex. The data follows the format year: percent of adults. Semicolons separate data pairs. For females, 2005: 9.3%; 2006: 9.0%; 2007: 9.5%; 2008: 8.1%. For males, 2005: 5.2%; 2006: 5.3%; 2007: 5.3%; 2008: 4.6%. Data courtesy of SAMHSA.

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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.

12-month Prevalence of Depression
Among All U.S. Adults by Age

12-month prevalence of depression among all U.S. adults by age. The data follows the format year: percent of adults. Semicolons separate data pairs. For the age range of 18-25, 2005: 9.7%; 2006: 9.0%; 2007: 8.9%; 2008: 8.7%. For the age range of 26-49 (data not available for 2005), 2006: 8.5%; 2007: 8.5%; 2008: 7.4%. For the age range of 50+, 2005: 5.1%; 2006: 5.1%; 2007: 5.8%; 2008: 4.5%. Data courtesy of SAMHSA.

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