Mounting stress, anxiety and depression in Americans, finds study
August 9th, 2017
Filed under: Anxiety, Anxiety disorder, Mental Health by Rachael

Every year, millions of people from across the globe are afflicted by mental disorders with debilitating consequences on their overall health and quality of life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly one in five adults in the United States (amounting to 43.8 million) suffers from a mental illness in a given year while around one in five people aged 13–18 (21.4 percent) are prone to experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. The prevalence for the same among eight- to 15-years-olds is approximately 13 percent.

A recent study made some striking revelations about the mental health of Americans, who reported highest ever prevalence of mental health problems including stress, depression and anxiety. The study, published in the journal Psychiatric Services in April 2017, compared self-reported symptoms of psychological distress over a period of nine years from 2006-2014. Psychological distress refers to an umbrella term to describe hopelessness, nervousness, and diagnosable conditions, including depression and anxiety. The study was based on the national health data from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) involving participation from 35,000 households nationwide.

The findings reported that approximately 10 percent Americans with mental health problems in 2014 did not have a health insurance covering the costs of seeing a psychiatrist or mental health counselor. It is important to note the number is slightly higher than 2006 when nearly 9 percent people with serious psychological distress could not afford psychiatric care. In addition, people with severe psychological problems had around three times more possibility of experiencing delays in receiving professional help, thanks to insufficient mental health coverage.

Impact of recession on mental health

The researchers blamed the Great Recession that began in late 2007 for elevated stress levels of Americans. Lead researcher and a research manager in the department of medicine at the New York University (NYU) Langone, Medical Center in New York City, Judith Weissman, suggested that many people whose mental health was affected by the Great Recession could not get the right help at the right time. Either they could not afford the health care costs or their condition restricted their ability to see a counselor. This led to hundreds of thousands of people in the country to suffer from serious psychological distress to the extent that they could never recover. Men were the most affected as the inability to earn in order to sustain a living became difficult and challenging.

Dr. Harsh Trivedi, president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System in Maryland, talked about the role of Internet and social media in intensifying people’s anxiety and angst. In the past, people used to discuss their problems as they met their friends and they would enjoy a sound sleep when they returned home. The problem with social media today is that it never lets people forget what is happening around them and gives no time to people to unwind and recharge.

Weissman highlighting the need to increase access to health care services for the mentally ill said, “We also need to put trained psychiatrists and mental health providers within the primary care setting. If you have linkages of care within primary care, then the mentally ill patient can be helped even if they’ve come in for some other reason.” Furthermore, Weissman emphasized on the need of insurance cover for mental health services as a part of providing essential primary care for people.

Dealing with psychological distress

Psychological distress is a serious problem, which may lead to mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Anybody who experiences symptoms, such as obsessive thoughts, anger management problems, feelings of excessive worry and hopelessness, and strange and unusual behavior may be a victim of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression are highly treatable disorders provided medical advice is sought timely.

The Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado offers help to people with anxiety and related problems. Patients can contact us over online chat or on our 24/7 helpline number 866-891-2539 for information about anxiety treatment in Colorado.

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