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1 in 10 Americans Depressed

October 2, 2010

About the Author

photo of Michael Craig Miller, MD

Michael Craig Miller, MD, Senior Editor, Mental Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publishing

Michael Craig Miller, M.D., was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter from August 2000 to March 2012. Published monthly, the Harvard Mental Health Letter was read widely by professionals and non-professionals alike. Dr. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Michael Craig Miller, MD


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August 2, 2011

Perhaps there are medication that contribute to being depressed? Lots of Americans are dependent on medication and this could affect their emotional state of being.

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.
March 8, 2011

I appreciate Abbie’s correcting the record — indeed there is no evidence that Americans were less depressed in the past. And — for those who do have health insurance — many programs pay for less than they did in the past.

We may be more aware of numbers of people being depressed because people feel freer to talk about it and the methods for collecting data about depression are somewhat better.

It is always a little sticky to label different kinds of depression — a subject for another time — but no matter how you define it, if you have symptoms of depression it is worth having it evaluated. It is sometimes hard work finding the treatment that matches you best, but many treatments do help.

Abbie Kendall
March 7, 2011

Andrew, your comment has no basis in fact.

Robert, “situational depression” (a psychological condition) may be helped or eliminated by lifestyle changes such as exercise, better quality of sleep, etc. Or, it may be resolved by time passing, as in depression over the death of a loved one.

However, Major Depressive Disorder is a brain disease and is not relieved or cured by lifestyle changes. And Treatment-resistant Major Depressive Disorder is currently incurable.

February 13, 2011

Too right Andrew. There is far too much reliance on anti depressants anyway as a first option and little emphasis on how lifestyle changes really can and do make a difference. Somebody who knows from personal experience is talking here.

December 8, 2010

How is it that before the invention of expensive anti-depressants and the proliferation of health care benefits that pay for just about everything, American’s weren’t nearly as depressed?

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