Navigation Links
Common mental disorders may be more common than we think
Date:9/10/2009

DURHAM, N.C. -- The prevalence of anxiety, depression and substance dependency may be twice as high as the mental health community has been led to believe.

It depends on how one goes about measuring.

Duke University psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi and colleagues from the United Kingdom and New Zealand used a long-term tracking study of more than 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 32 to reach the conclusion that people vastly underreport the amount of mental illness they've suffered when asked to recall their history years after the fact.

But such self-reporting from memory is the basis of much of what we know about the prevalence of anxiety, depression, alcohol dependence and marijuana dependence. Longitudinal studies like the Dunedin Study in New Zealand that track people over time are rare and expensive, Moffitt said.

"If you start with a group of children and follow them their whole lives, sooner or later almost everybody will experience one of these disorders," said Moffitt, the Knut Schmitt-Nielsen professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke.

The Great Smoky Mountains Study, a similar effort based at Duke, has tracked 1,400 American children from age 9-13 into their late 20s and found similar patterns, said Jane Costello, a professor medical psychology at Duke who runs the study.

"I think we've got to get used to the idea that mental illness is actually very common," Costello said. "People are growing up impaired, untreated and not functioning to their full capacity because we've ignored it."

The prevalence of mental illness has been hotly debated by policy makers and mental health providers for many years. The pharmaceutical and health insurance industries also have a stake in the debate, Moffitt said.

The best retrospective studies, the US National Comorbidity Surveys (NCS) and the New Zealand Mental Health Survey, have found the incidence of depression from ages 18 to 32 at a rate of about 18 percent. But they have been roundly criticized by some for their rates being too high. The latest analysis from the Dunedin Study found 41 percent of that age range had experienced clinically significant depression.

Similarly, the survey studies have reported a 6 to 17 percent lifetime rate of alcohol dependence between ages 18-32, versus nearly 32 percent in the Dunedin Study.

Guidelines published by the American Psychiatric Association that set the bar for defining what is and isn't a treatable illness are currently being revised by a rewriting of the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But given the findings of these longitudinal studies, the stringency of the diagnostic criteria might need to be reconsidered, said Moffitt, who is on the committee writing the new DSM-Vstandards.

"Researchers might begin to ask why so many people experience a disorder at least once during their lifetimes and what this means for the way we define mental health, deliver services and count the economic burdens of mental illness," Moffitt said.

On the one hand, it could be argued that the diagnostic standards have been set too low if so many people can be considered mentally ill. On the other hand, perhaps these findings argue for more and better mental health care because the disorders are more common than anyone had realized.

"There are two opposing camps, and I'm agnostic about that," Moffitt said.

At the very least, maybe these findings can help reduce the stigma against mental illness and mental health care, Moffitt added. New Zealand, for example, has begun a new campaign of public service announcements featuring sports heroes saying they've experienced mental health issues.

"If we're serious about this problem, we need to get serious about preventing it," Costello added. "We do know a lot more about prevention now."


'/>"/>

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Select Medical Holdings Corporation Commences Initial Public Offering of Common Stock
2. Link found between common sexual infection and risk of aggressive prostate cancer
3. Major clinical study rejects cancer safety fears of most common heartburn treatment
4. Driving After Binge Drinking More Common Than Believed
5. Narconon Launches Operation Medicine Cabinet in Georgia - Prescription Drugs Commonly Abused Targeted
6. Study reveals how a common virus eludes the immune system
7. More Than Four Out of Five Dentists Surveyed Reveal That Texting During Dental Treatment a Common Problem
8. Cardiome Pharma Corp. Announces Tender Offer To Purchase Up To US$27.5 Million Of Its Common Shares
9. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Common Blood Disorder May Not be Linked to as Many Serious Diseases, as Previously Thought
10. Acupuncture may bring relief for a common condition in women
11. Common variation in gene linked to structural changes in the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2017)... ... April 29, 2017 , ... More than half of Americans ... Americans doing in their leisure time that causes hearing loss? May 1 marks the ... be contributing to hearing loss, as well as schedule a hearing evaluation for anyone ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... It's not always common knowledge whether ... illnesses that are unclear as to whether or not they are contagious, and most ... of these illnesses. So, FindaTopDoc took a look into the matter. , They ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... GlycoMark, Inc. announced today a ... the Northeast U.S. , GlycoMark is the only clinically available blood test ... a clinically proven one- to two-week measure of hyperglycemic excursions, often related to ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Children and ... more adverse experiences than children in the general population. That’s because foster care ... or other family challenges. While no fault of their own, youth who have ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... , ... April 28, 2017 , ... Bill Howe started ... in the coastal communities. After Tina Howe joined the team, the Bill Howe brand ... honest services at affordable rates, and giving back to the San Diego community in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017  SARES•REGIS Group leased the first of ... Conejo Spectrum Business Park in Thousand ... Inc. , a biopharmaceutical company developing meaningful therapies ... have been underserved by scientific innovation, with an ... autoimmune and infectious disease. Before commencement ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Cogentix Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: CGNT), a global medical device ... markets with innovative and proprietary products, will release financial ... after the market close on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. ... call and webcast to discuss its financial results the ... p.m. Eastern Time (3:30 p.m. Central Time). Darin ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... DUBLIN , April 18, 2017 Research ... Devices Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global arthroscopy devices market to grow at ... The report, Global Arthroscopy Devices Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: