Depression Facts

Depression is a serious medical condition that is associated with symptoms such as melancholy, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.

Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. The brain is unique—it is the only organ whose function we consciously experience because the brain is the organ of the mind. Illnesses of the mind-brain affect tens of millions of people in the United States. Depression is by far the most prevalent, representing 99% of all mind-brain illness. (Schizophrenia and major psychotic illness represent the remaining 1%). The umbrella of depression encompasses Major Depressive Disorder and its related mood disorders including bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide.

HDRF chooses not to use the term “mental illness” to refer to disorders of the mind and brain. The term conjures up negative images in the popular imagination, propagates stigma, and is not scientifically accurate. Therefore, at HDRF we always refer to this area as “mind-brain illness.”

Did you know that…

Depression in the United States …

• Affects over 18 million adults (one in ten) in any given year.3
• Is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44.4
• Is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide every 15 minutes. – over 38,000 people a year.5
• In comparison: 15,000 deaths are due to homicide each year

1American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision, DSM-!V – TR. Washington, DC 2000. 2DSM - V 3Kessler RC et al. Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of Twelve-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62:617-627. 4Ibid 5CDC