I have spent nearly a lifetime trying to understand, manage and fix the human mind. The mind fascinates, torments, inspires, belittles, loves, and elevates. So it was with great interest that I read that the CDC came out with a new report on mental illness, including anxiety and depression.
The Center for Disease Control just released their report, Mental Illness Surveillance Among Adults in the United States (September 2, 2011), outlining the tremendous reach that mental illness has into my life, your life and every other life in the United States of America.
Some highlights from the report…
In the United States, the economic impact of mental illness is enormous, roughly $300 billion in 2002. No more recent numbers are available, but the cost is rising.
Approximately 25% of adults in the U.S. have a mental illness. That means one out of every four individuals are dealing with some form of mental illness (e.g., anxiety, depression, other mood disorders, psychosis, OCD, ADHD, personality disorders, etc.). The report defines mental illness as all diagnosable mental disorders. Effects of mental illness may involve chronic abnormal thoughts, moods, or behaviors associated with distress and impaired functioning. The effects of mental illnesses include disruptions of daily function; incapacitating personal, social, and occupational impairment; and premature death. The most common ones are anxiety and mood disorders (e.g., depression and bipolar disorder).
Almost 50% of American adults will experience at least one mental illness in their lifetime.
Mental illness leads to more disability than any other group of illnesses. More than even heart disease and cancer!
The Mental Impacts the Physical and Vice-versa
Most mental illnesses are fundamentally intertwined with chronic medical disorders like heart disease, addiction and obesity. So the manner in which our mind works dramatically impacts how well your body works.
Mental illness is a massive public health problem. Check out these facts from the World Health Organization…
- ‘mental illness is associated with increased occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer;
- mental illness is associated with lower use of medical care, reduced adherence to treatment therapies for chronic diseases, and higher risks of poor health outcomes;
- mental illness is associated with use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco and abuse of alcohol;
- rates for both intentional (e.g., homicide, suicide) and unintentional (e.g., motor vehicle) injuries are 2 to 6 times higher among people with a mental illness than in the population overall;
- many mental illnesses can be managed successfully, and increasing access to and use of mental health treatment services could substantially reduce the associated death rate and
- many chronic illnesses are associated with mental illnesses, and it’s been shown that treatment of mental illnesses associated with chronic diseases can reduce the effects of both and support better outcomes.’
Interestingly, there are currently no efforts at the national or state level to track anxiety disorders. Yet, anxiety disorders occur just as frequently as depression.
What’s more, anxiety disorders are similar to depression in that they
- negatively impact daily functioning as much as depression,
- are closely tied to the stress response system in the body,
- have similar negative effects on physical health, and
- are frequently found to exist together with the same physical illnesses as those that exist in folks who suffer from depression.
In conclusion, it appears that we are lagging in monitoring the prevalence of anxiety and providing assistance for those who struggle with anxiety. Mental illness is just beginning to get adequate exposure so that we can continue to develop cutting-edge tools and technologies to help those who suffer from it. We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the compounding costs of mental illness. It is time to bring mental illness into the light where it can be appropriately identified and treated without shame.
What are your thoughts on this CDC report?
How have you been affected by mental illness in your life?
Please leave a comment below to get the conversation started!
All the best,
John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
Award-winning author of Guide to Self: The Beginners Guide to Managing Emotion and Thought (for a free PDF version, visit http://www.GuidetoSelf.com and enter your name and email address)
Award-winning blogger on The Shrunken Mind – a top 3 blog on positive psychology
Free online anger management classes which incorporate humor and positive psychology at WebAngerManagement.com