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Mental Health Problems on the Rise Across the Globe

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

Depression is a pervasive health issue today. According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 American adults report some form of depression. Eleven percent of the US population over the age of 12 is on antidepressant medication.

Just two years ago, Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discussed how a shocking 46 percent of Americans fit a diagnosis for one form of mental illness or another. This problem is not limited to the United States, however.

In fact, according to a recent study published in The Lancet, mental disorders and substance abuse combined were the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide in 2010, contributing nearly 23 percent of the total global disease burden!

Data for the study was obtained from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, which includes data from 187 countries. Depressive disorders were the most common, followed by anxiety disorders, drug use disorders, and schizophrenia.

Mental Health Problems on the Rise Across the Globe

The analysis also found that mental disorders and substance use disorders were the fifth leading cause of death and disease worldwide. Only China, North Korea, Japan and Nigeria had a statistically lower burden of death and disease from mental disorders and substance abuse. As reported in the featured article:

"The authors say that this difference in non-fatal illness compared with the cause of death and disease is supported by the fact that mental and substance use disorders caused a low death rate in 2010 at 232,000, relative to the overall illness they caused."

In all, mental and substance use disorders were responsible for higher global death and illness rates than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, and car accidents. Females over the age of 14 had a higher risk of death and disease from mental disorders compared to males.        


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