One in Five US Adults Afflicted with Mental Illness

Posted on Feb. 2, 2012, 6 a.m. in Demographics Mental Health

Mental illness among adults aged 18 or older is defined as having had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) in the past year, based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that 45.9 million American adults ages 18 and older, or 20% of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.%) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3%). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23% versus 16.8%).  The report also shows that in 2010, 11.4 million adults (5% of the adult population) suffered from serious mental illness – a condition that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities.

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“2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).”  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), 2011.

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