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How the Economy May Be Affecting Your Mental Health

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About 20 percent of Americans – more than 45 million – were diagnosed with some type of psychiatric disorder last year, according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Nearly 30 percent of those were young adults ages 18 to 25. About 14 percent of people ages 50 and older had some form of mental illness, including Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), according to SAMHSA.

Significantly more women are affected by mental illness than men. The survey reported that 23.8 percent of women experienced some type of psychiatric disorder, compared with 15.6 percent of men.

While more people report suffering from a psychiatric disorder, fewer are being treated for it. For example, only 64 percent of adults suffering from major depression were treated in 2009, compared with 71 percent in 2008.

It seems that the economy is partly to blame. Many people are not getting treated for their psychiatric disorder because they lost their health insurance along with their job. Of those people experiencing serious mental illness, 7.1 percent were unemployed, compared with 3.6 percent of adults who were employed full-time and 5.6 percent employed part-time. 

Prevalence of Depression 

Of all the possible psychiatric disorders, depression is becoming more prevalent, especially among the jobless. Nearly 15 million Americans suffered from major depression last year, including 10 percent of unemployed people. That compares with 7.5 percent of retired people or those not in the job force, 7.3 percent who worked part-time, and 5.4 percent who worked full-time. 

More than twice the number of unemployed people also reported considering suicide: 6.6 percent of unemployed adults, compared to only 3.1 percent of working adults. About 1 million people attempted suicide last year, according to SAMHSA. 

Treatment for Psychiatric Disorders

Government officials are concerned that depressed Americans aren’t getting the help they need. The survey reported that 6.1 million adults did not receive treatment for their psychiatric disorder last year. Of those, 42.5 percent said they did not seek treatment because they couldn’t afford it.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a psychiatric disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder or depression, there is always treatment available. The cost of treatment for a psychiatric disorder depends on your diagnosis and the level of treatment offered.

Ignoring a psychiatric disorder can lead to suicide, substance abuse, disability, lost productivity, and family problems, according to experts at SAMHSA. Don’t let the price of treatment interfere with you getting the help you need to have a successful life.

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