Interesting Facts about Depression


Note: the data listed here comes from the National Institutes of Health and other government resources unless otherwise cited. Depressive disorder includes dysthymia, bipolar and major depression unless specified. Dates of the information are given where available.


In 13 to 18 year olds – severe 3.3% (2010) with a lifetime risk across the population of 11.2%.

Lifetime prevalence of severe depression is double for females than males. This may be partially due to men not seeking treatment and not getting diagnosed.

Only 61.7% of those with the disorder receive treatment, and of those, 43.1% receive “minimally adequate” treatment (2005).

Some famous people who have talked about their depression (more listed here):

  • Drew Carey
  • Harrison Ford
  • Jim Carrey
  • Sheryl Crow
  • J. K. Rowling
  • Ashley Judd
  • Billy Joel


Suicide can be a fatal consequence of depression. Not all suicides fall into this category. Bullying or other types of abuse, along with any major life-changing event (death of a spouse, loss of financial status, divorce, imprisonment) may also be a contributing factor. Rarely, suicide may be the result of political, philosophical or religious beliefs. However, suicide is strongly linked to depression. Estimates are that the risk of suicide is about double for those diagnosed with depression than in the general population (Mayo Clinic).

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US (2007). About twice as many people die from suicide as homicide.

Suicide is much more common in the western United States (except California) with a rate about three times that of the northeastern states (2007).

About 4% of adults have seriously thought about suicide, 1% have made plans and 0.5% have attempted to kill themselves (2008).

Attempted suicide survivors:

  • Elton John
  • Eminem
  • Britney Spears
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Halle Berry

Other facts

Although depression isn’t entirely genetic, someone who has a parent with depression is three times as likely to suffer themselves.

Antidepressant medications account for $11 billion in drug sales in the US and are the third most commonly prescribed medication (2011 -- source).

Two of the top six best selling drugs (by dollars spent) are used for depression and related conditions (2010 sales, Seroquel (#6), Abilify (#5). Antidepressants are the second most prescribed class of pharmaceuticals, only beat out by cholesterol lowering drugs.

One in ten Americans are on an antidepressant, and this rises to one in five women between 40 and 59 (2010 -- source). 60% take them for two years or more.

Those who are addicted are twice as likely to also have a mood disorder, including anxiety and depression. These are called, “dual diagnosis” patients.

Addictive drugs affect the same areas of the brain involved in depression.


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