THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 46 million American adults have had a mental illness in the past year, a new government report shows.
Almost 30 percent of those aged 18 to 25 experienced a mental illness, twice as many as those aged 50 and older at just over 14 percent. And more women than men suffered a mental illness in the last year (23 percent vs. nearly 17 percent), according to the report released Thursday from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
"We all know people who have had a depression or an anxiety disorder, maybe something more serious like a bipolar disorder, but this is a pretty big number," said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies.
"This is only the second year where we have done this as a separate report and the findings were not significantly different from last year," Delany noted, so there are not enough data to see a trend.
The reasons why so many people are suffering from these problems cannot be easily summed up, he said.
The recent economic downturn may be a factor for some, he said. "But these conditions are multifactorial -- there are genetic issues, there are biological issues, there are social issues and also personal issuers," Delany explained.
A lot of people who are not receiving treatment for their mental illness, he said, cite lack of insurance as the main reason why.
"There are people who know they have a mental health problem, but aren't interested in getting care," he added.
"We know with the appropriate use of medication and with good treatment people can recover and go on to lead very healthy and productive lives," Delany said.
The new report defines mental illness as having a mental, behavioral or emotional problem based on criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the standard re
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