Almost Half of all Americans Will Experience a Mental Health Problem

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A new study from the CDC suggests that almost half of all Americans will suffer some form of mental health problem at some stage in their lives. The study specifically refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders which means anything from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder to suicide.

The study, a surveillance report, is really a roundup of other studies and among the findings are that up to 25% of Americans currently have a mental illness of some kind. The report also suggest that mental illnesses are more prevalent in the Southeastern states. More worryingly, mental illness is often associated with increased occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer.

The biggest concern coming out of the report is that anxiety disorders are apparently as common as depression and as debilitating in terms of their effects on mental and physical health, but there are no surveillance efforts at the national or state level for anxiety disorders. Combined with the overall general trend towards a lack of treatment for all forms of mental illness and those suffering from mental health problems to look after themselves less well than the general population, this could be a very troubling scenario. Not surprisingly the report recommends more surveillance for anxiety disorders and mental health problems in general and the establishment of more effective programs for dealing with them.

These findings may not be so surprising if you think back to if you have ever had a serious bout of depression or anxiety, but combine that with the current economic climate, the decline in services and support for mental health and healthcare in general and how all those things could make a small mental health problem into a big one and the picture isn’t very pleasant.

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