Are Rich People More Depressed than Poor? And Other Depression Factoids

Get the facts on Depression

Letting Go

I taped a radio show the other day with Court Lewis of American Variety Radio in which he wanted me to cover the demographics of depression. So here we go. Many of these stats I assembled from the book Understanding Depression by J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Others I picked in articles here and there.

Depression and Gender

More women are depressed than men because women have more to be depressed about than men. Kidding, of course. But I still don’t understand how our gender got stuck with labor pains and all that. Almost one in five women in the US will have one or more episodes of clinical depression, which is TWO or THREE times the rate of depressive illness that men have.

Some say the discrepancy can be attributed to all the mood-altering hormonal effects of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth, infertility, and/or contraceptives. Based on the Armageddon that happened to me around childbirth, I’d give that theory a thumbs up. That, and I have to track my menstrual cycle because I’ve been known to go off on people a day or two before my period. However, men’s depression has been crawling up to meet us lately with the recession cutting more male jobs than female jobs. Naddy naddy boo boo.

Married men have lower rates of depression than single men, but not so for married women. (I have my theories but consider myself very lucky so I won’t go into them.) Women who are married are no better off than women who are widowed, divorced, or single (never been married).


Age and Depression

Before age 13 depression is fairly uncommon in both girls and boys. The biggest factor for severe depressive illness in children appears to be genetic. Both parents of severely depressed children often have depression.

More than a million Americans age 65 and older (or one in 12) suffer from serious forms of major clinical depression. Approximately 15 percent of people aged 60 years or older in long-term facilities have major depression, although much of it goes undiagnosed and untreated. Generally the rate of mood and anxiety disorder seems to decline as people age; however, often times a mood or anxiety disorder is not picked up in the elderly due to other medical problems.

A study was recently published in Archives of General Psychiatry that examined 2,575 people age 55 and older. Five percent had experienced a mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder in the previous year, 12 percent had an anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress order, and three percent had co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders.

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