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  • Bipolar Disorder may also have a depression component. The individual with this diagnosis has potential cycling mood changes, which may include depression and/or mania. In this document, the depression component will be addressed.

In a given year, approximately 28.4 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, are diagnosed with a mood disorder.15,16 The median age of onset for mood disorders is 30 years.17 Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.15

  • Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for

individuals ages 15-44.16 In a given year, this disorder affects approximately 20.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and


While a major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the

median age of onset is 32.17 Major depressive disorders are more prevalent in women; they occur nearly twice as often in women than in men.18 Hormonal changes due to menstrual cycles and pregnancy may account for this.19,20 In the United States, an estimated six million men suffer from depression.21 Men are less likely to admit to depression and doctors are less likely to suspect it, mainly because men may present with irritability, anger, and discouragement. The rate of death by suicide in men is four times that of women though more women attempt suicide.11 Children at various stages of development also may have a diagnosis of depression.2

  • Dysthymic Disorder affects about 4.5 million American adults.15,16

Symptoms of dysthymic disorder must persist for at least two years in adults (one year in children) to meet criteria for the diagnosis. In a given year, dysthymic disorder affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, and the median age of onset is 31.15,17

  • Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mood

disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.22 Individuals with Bipolar Disorders may experience episodes of severe depression or severe mania. It varies by patient as to when mood swings occur, but they are often thought to be cyclic. According to diagnostic criteria, the individual must experience either an episode of depression and/or one of mania with the cyclic state. Some patients may experience psychosis. Bipolar Disorder affects approximately 7.8 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.15,16 The median age of onset for Bipolar Disorders is 25 years.17 Individuals diagnosed with major depression may be misdiagnosed individuals with Bipolar Disorder simply because the manic episode has not occurred or the cyclic nature of the disorder has not presented itself. If treated with an antidepressant, the individual could potentially be predisposed to an extreme episode of mania. An excellent family history and life experiences over a period of time must be considered to prevent misdiagnosis and treatment, which could complicate the course of the disorder.




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