Of those experiencing another type of depression, the highest rate was found in ages 18-24.
"Depression is definitely undertreated," McKnight-Eily said. "Research has indicated that more people are seeking out treatment, but issues in terms of access to care, health insurance coverage -- particularly mental health coverage -- is an issue. Stigma is another barrier to treatment and care, and so is the availability of mental health providers."
The stigma attached to seeking help for depression keeps many from getting treatment, she noted. "People think they're weak or they have a notion that they should be able to handle it," she said.
The word "depression" is used so commonly to mean one is in a foul mood that people don't realize it's a disease, McKnight-Eily said. "It affects you psychologically and emotionally. It's not just having a bad day," she added.
Symptoms of depression include experiencing crying spells; feeling unhappy, hopeless, guilty or worthless; losing interest in normal activities; having trouble concentrating or making decisions; less interest in sex; sleep problems; and feeling unusual agitation, irritability and restlessness for more than a few weeks' time.
Eva E. Redei, the David Lawrence Stein Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, said "there are no real surprises in the report."
Still, Redei was startled to learn that only 6.8 percent of those 65 and older were depressed. "That is not what I have seen in other statistics," she said.
Although depression is often unrecognized and undertreated, Redei said the current therapies are also not completely effective. "Current treatment possibilities are very limited," she said. "We are in the stone ages, compared to other areas of medicine."
Redei noted that current antidepressants work for only about half the patient
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