Printer Friendly

Firming figures on mental illness.

Firming the figures on mental illness

Almost one-third of U.S. adults are likely to suffer from a mental illness or substance abuse or dependence sometime in their lives, according to what Lewis L. Judd, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), calls "the most extensive epidemiological survey of mental illness in the history of our civilization."

"What this indicates is that these disorders are not those that affect someone else, but will affect almost every family and certainly every friendship in the United States," Judd says.

Until this new study, mental health professionals had no solid data on the nationwide prevalence of mental illness. Leaders of NIMH's Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey, covering five U.S. communities, say it is the first such study to use modern diagnostic techniques, weight raw figures with national averages and replicate data in more than one site.

The new report substantiates the study's 1984 preliminary results, based on 10,000 adults at three sites (SN: 10/6/84, p.212). With an additional 8,571 interviews, the new results also include one-month rates, which indicate current prevalence, minimize recall problems, provide "base rates" for follow-up interviews and allow for international comparisons, the researchers note in the November ARCHIVES OF GENERAL PSYCHIATRY.

They found that 15.4 percent of people surveyed suffered symptoms of a mental or substance-use disorder in the month before their questioning. Phobia was the single most common disorder, reported by 6.2 percent. Another 3.3 percent reported dysthymia (a mild depression), 2.8 percent reported alcohol abuse/dependence and 2.2 percent reported an episode of major depression. All other disorders occurred in less than 2 percent of the population. Reserchers conducted the interviews between 1980 and 1984.

The study shows mental disorders are more common among people under age 45 and more common in women than in men. However, men were twice as likely as women to abuse drugs and five times as likely to abuse alcohol. In addition, antisocial personality disorder afflicted four times as many men as women, but more women had symptoms of depression, anxiety and somatization disorder, a form of hypochondria.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Wickelgren, Ingrid
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 12, 1988
Previous Article:Ignoring some data may aid crop counts.
Next Article:AIDS toll underestimated in IV drug users.

Related Articles
The 14 worst myths about recovered mental patients.
Rethinking mental disorder rates.
Finding Meaning in My Mother's Madness.
The Future of Mental Health Awareness: A Global Perspective.
Mental Health and Housing Research: housing needs and sustainable independent living.
Reducing the stigma of mental illness. (Professional Exchange).
Mental health often overlooked.
`A place of peace and rest': churches are helping many with mental illness find medical, psychological, and spiritual aid.
Violence, subordination and women's mental health. (Consequences of Gender Violence).
Disorderly conduct: U.S. survey finds high rates of mental illness.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |