Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Will Develop a Mental Illness, CDC Says

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The Centers for Disease Control say that, at any given moment, one-quarter of the U.S. population is mentally ill.

In a mental-health fact sheet, the Centers for Disease Control says that at any given moment, one-quarter of the U.S. population is mentally ill, and nearly half of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness in their lifetime.

Mental illness, says the CDC, “refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders” and that “the most common mental illnesses in adults are anxiety and mood disorders.” Mental illnesses effects “include sustained abnormal alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress and impaired functioning.”

The CDC also says that the categories, subcategories, and terminology of mental illness have varied over time. “For example,” said the report, “terms used to describe depression have included major and minor depression, psychotic depression, depression not otherwise specified, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, moderate to severe depression, and mild depression. However, the relationship among the disorders described by these different terms often is unclear.” 

In addition, says the agency, “mental illness is associated with increased occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer.”

“A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year, and surveillance during 1994–2011 has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing,” said that CDC report.

Read more about the prevalence of mental illness in the U.S. and its economic burden here.

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