Major depressive disorder, or depression, is a mental health disorder that negatively impacts how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Depression can lead to a variety of mental, emotional, and physical problems and decrease a person’s ability to function or perform every day activities at home or work. Depression is a common disorder.
Symptoms of major depressive disorder include: a depressed mood or feelings of sadness; loss of interest in activities once enjoyed; suicidal thoughts; sleeping too much or trouble sleeping; feeling worthless or guilty; social withdrawal; significant changes in appetite; signifiant changes in weight (either loss or gain); slowed movements and speech; difficulty concentrating or thinking; and increasingly engaging in purposeless, repetitive tasks like pacing.
Depression can affect anyone, especially those with risk factors. Risk factors include: genetics (depression can run in families); biochemistry (chemical composition in then brain); personality (people who are easily overwhelmed, are pessimistic, or have low-self-esteem are more likely to be depressed); and environmental factors (violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty, can increase vulnerability to depression). Although depression is common, it is fortunately one of the most treatable mental disorders. About 80-90% of depression patients eventually respond well to treatment. Treatment options for depression typically include medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy), and/or electroconvulsive therapy.
Prevalence of Depression in the United States
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2017 based on the most recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Additionally, about 3 million people suffer from seasonal affective disorder each year. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is related to seasons and generally occurs around the same time every year. It typically occurs in climates where there is less sunlight.
About 65% of those diagnosed with depression receive treatment and 44 receive combined care by a health professional and medication. About 15% of those with depression received treatment by a medical professional only and 6% received medication only. About half of depression patients in the United States are also diagnosed with anxiety.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression in the U.S. is lower among non-Hispanic Asian adults, compared to Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, or non-Hispanic white adults. Additionally, the prevalence of depression decreased as family income levels increased. About 15.8% of adults from families living below the poverty line have depression, decreasing to 3.5% among adults at or above 400% of the federal poverty line.
Most Depressed States in the U.S.
QuoteWizard analyzed the CDC’s depression rates for each state from 2014 to 2018. They ranked every state based on an average rate of the five-year period. They also included the state’s depression rate percentage from 2014 to 2018 and each state’s rank for access to mental health care (1 for the best and 50 for the worst). Their analysis found that there’s a direct link between access to mental health care and increases or decreases in depression rates.
Below are the most depressed states in the country.
- Depression rate: 25.20%
- Change in depression rate: 9.17%
- Mental health care access rank: 23
- Depression rate: 24.62%
- Change in depression rate: 12.71%
- Mental health care access rank: 28
- Depression rate: 23.52%
- Change in depression rate: -3.80%
- Mental health care access rank: 5
- Depression rate: 23.2%
- Change in depression rate: 4.65%
- Mental health care access rank: 34
- Depression rate: 22.84%
- Change in depression rate: 0.42%
- Mental health care access rank: 30
- Depression rate: 22.70%
- Change in depression rate: 6.88%
- Mental health care access rank: 38
- Depression rate: 22.64%
- Change in depression rate: 12.68%
- Mental health care access rank: 45
- Depression rate: 22.64%
- Change in depression rate: -2.75%
- Mental health care access rank: 1
- Depression rate: 22.36%
- Change in depression rate: 17.76%
- Mental health care access rank: 41
- Depression rate: 22.22%
- Change in depression rate: 9.26%
- Mental health care access rank: 24