disease, which is then managed. The healthcare team, which is treating the chronic disease successfully, will note that depression can be an underlying disease complicating adherence to treatment plans identified for the chronic disease. As a result, the healthcare team will actively screen for depression.
Incidence and Cost of Depression
$ C o s t o f D e p r e s s i o n Depression affects more than 21 million American children and adults annually and is the leading cause of disability in the United States for individuals ages 15 to 44.6 Lost productivity among U.S. workers due to depression is estimated to be in excess of $31 billion per year. Another study cited in Science Daily on December 3, 2007, indicates that, “Depression affects 16 percent of the population in the United States, at a related cost of $83 billion each year. Currently available antidepressants help 65 percent of patients and require weeks to months before the patients experience relief.”7 L o s t P r o d u c t i v i t y : $ 3 2 b i l l i o n p e r y e a r T o t a l T r e a t m e n t f o r D e p r e s s i o n : $ 8 3 b i l l i o n p e r y e a r
Women who are poor, less educated, unemployed, or from certain ethnic populations are at risk for depression.3 In addition, all women immediately past childbirth are at risk for Postpartum Depression (PPD). PPD is a serious mental health problem characterized by a prolonged period of emotional disturbance, occurring at a time of major life change and increased responsibilities in the care of a newborn infant. An estimated 9%-16% of postpartum women will experience PPD. Among women who have already experienced PPD following a previous pregnancy, some prevalence estimates increase to 41%.8
African Americans are less likely than whites to have a major depressive disorder. If they do, it tends to be more chronic and severe. They are also much less likely to undergo treatment.9
Children of depressed parents have a higher incidence of mental disorders.They show lower functioning, greater use of outpatient mental health treatment, and more continuous mental health treatment. They also have a higher tendency to report more medical problems, particularly cardiovascular illnesses.10
Despite significant gains in the availability of effective depression treatment over the past decade, the level of unmet need for treatment remains high. On average, individuals live with depression for nearly a decade before receiving treatment, and less than one-third of individuals who seek help receive minimally adequate care.6