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"Mental Health Statistics." NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) | Article ID: #M002
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one in four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion - about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 - who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.
The Impact of Mental Illness on Society
The burden of mental illness on health and productivity in the United States and throughout the world has long been underestimated. Data developed by the massive Global Burden of Disease study conducted by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and Harvard University, reveal that mental illness, including suicide, accounts for over 15 percent of the burden of disease in established market economies, such as the United States. This is more than the disease burden caused by all cancers.
The Numbers Count
Mental Disorders in America
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one in four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.2Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion - about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 - who suffer from a serious mental illness.1 In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44.3 Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.1
In the U.S., mental disorders are diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV).4
Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Agoraphobia involves intense fear and anxiety of any place or situation where escape might be difficult, leading to avoidance of situations such as being alone outside of the home; traveling in a car, bus, or airplane; or being in a crowded area.5
Specific phobia involves marked and persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation.
The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism is part of a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), also known as pervasive developmental disorders. ASDs range in severity, with autism being the most debilitating form while other disorders, such as Asperger syndrome, produce milder symptoms.
For More Information
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2. U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics. Table 2: Annual Estimates of the Population by Selected Age Groups and Sex for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004 (NC-EST2004-02) Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau Release Date: June 9, 2005. http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/
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With thanks to the National Institute of Mental Health for allowing the publication of this article.