By Nikki Main
See original post here.
Depression among adults is on the rise in the U.S., according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recorded that nearly one in five American adults are diagnosed with depression. The study, which was conducted across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. and focused on adults ages 18 and up, revealed that some states ranked higher in the number of depressed adults than others.
The CDC reported higher levels of depression were found in adults living in low-income areas and regions with higher poverty rates and lower education levels, “all of which can negatively affect health and wellbeing,” the report says. The findings were based on government data collected in more than 3,100 counties across the country in 2020 as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.
Nearly 393,000 adults responded to the survey where they were asked: “Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you had a depressive disorder, including depression, major depression, dysthymia, or minor depression?” The goal was to identify a starting point to discern whether disparities in the geographic region contributed to depression.
“There was considerable geographic variation in the prevalence of depression, with the highest state and county estimates of depression observed along the Appalachian and southern Mississippi Valley regions,” the CDC said in the report. Among the most affected states were West Virginia, where 26.4% of respondents reported suffering from depression, Arkansas and Alabama (23.5% each), Kentucky (24.2%), and Tennessee (24.1%).
The survey provided worrying results, reflecting that out of all participants, nearly 74,000 reported feelings of depression, amounting to a weighted result of 47 million U.S. adults (18.7%) who suffer from depression. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, ranging from feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth to hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.
These feelings increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Rebecca Brendel, president of the American Psychiatric Association. “The fact that Americans are more depressed and struggling after this time of incredible stress and isolation is perhaps not surprising,” Brendel told CNN last month. “There are lingering effects on our health, especially our mental health, from the past three years that disrupted everything we knew.”
The study has a minor silver lining: it reveals that discussions of mental health are becoming more mainstream, meaning more people could seek the help they previously may have shied away from. While this will increase the rates of people diagnosed with depression, this could be a positive result long term.
“We’re making it easier to talk about mental health and looking at it as part of our overall wellness just like physical health,” Brendel told CNN. “People are aware of depression, and people are seeking help for it.”