Depression is a common mental illness occurring in children, teenagers and adults. According to depression facts, it's estimated the lifetime prevalence of depressive disorder in the U.S. is 20% in women and 12% in men.1 It's not known why the depression statistics vary by gender, but a possible answer is women are more open to discussing their emotional health and are diagnosed more frequently. Another little known depression fact: depression symptoms become more severe with age.
According to depression statistics, 70%-80% of people with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience significant reduction in symptoms when treated. Nevertheless, many people continue to live with depression and do not seek treatment. Facts about untreated depression include:
- 40% of people will continue to meet the diagnostic criteria in one year if not treated
- People with untreated depression die, on average, 25 years sooner2
- Children born to depressed mothers show increased irritability, less attentiveness, fewer facial expressions and lower birth weights.
Child and Teenage Depression Facts and Statistics
While the rate of depression is highest in ages 25-44, child and teen depression statistics show an alarmingly high number of youth affected by depression. The incidence of depression has been measured at:
- 0.9% in preschool-aged children
- 1.9% in school-aged children
- 4.7% in adolescents
According to child and teenage depression statistics, depression is seen equally in males and females until puberty when the ratio shifts towards women.
Race, social class and income also appear to affect rates of depression. Hispanic youths in Los Angeles (age 12-17) were noted for reporting more depressive symptoms than adolescents of other races.
Facts and Statistics About Depression in the Elderly
Statistics on depression in the elderly show those with late-onset depression, particularly those with a disability, have poorer outcomes. Forty percent of these patients will have chronic or continuously recurring depression. This may explain, in part, why the highest risk of death by suicide is among elderly men.
Additional facts about depression in the elderly include:
- Late-onset depression has been reported to double the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and the likelihood that the mild cognitive impairment will develop into dementia.
- Depression treatment is thought to reduce the risk of impairment.
- The elderly tend to have more physical handicaps and fewer social supports, leading to a less-favorable prognosis.
Suicide and Depression Facts
Depression is thought to be involved in half of all suicides and up to 15% of people with disorders like depression will die of suicide. Men commit suicide more often than women at a rate of 4.5:1. It is thought this is due to the method men use for suicide, which often involve firearms.
Other suicide and depression facts and statistics include:
- Women tend to use poisoning as a method of suicide.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents and the third leading cause of death in young people (age 15-24).
- Antidepressants may reduce the chance of suicide.