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Sharper picture of major depression and alcohol disorders

Findings from the largest survey ever mounted on the co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders among U.S. adults afford a sharper picture than previously available of major depressive disorder* (MDD) in specific population subgroups and of MDD's relationship to alcohol use disorders (AUDs) ** and other mental health conditions. The new analysis of data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) shows for the first time that middle age and Native American race increase the likelihood of current or lifetime MDD, along with female gender, low income, and separation, divorce, or widowhood. Asian, Hispanic, and black race-ethnicity reduce that risk. Conducted by the NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the analysis appears in the Monday, October 3, 2005 Archives of General Psychiatry.

The NESARC involved face-to-face interviews with more than 43,000 non-institutionalized individuals aged 18 years and older and questions that reflect diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Its principal foci were alcohol dependence (alcoholism) and alcohol abuse and the psychiatric conditions that most frequently co-occur with those AUDs. Because of its size and scrutiny of multiple sociodemographic factors, the NESARC provides more precise information than previously available on between-group differences that influence risk.

For example, the analysis indicates that 5.28 percent of U.S. adults experienced MDD during the 12 months preceding the survey and 13.23 percent had experienced MDD at some time during their lives. The highest lifetime risk was among middle-aged adults, a shift from the younger adult population shown to be at highest risk by surveys conducted during the 1980s and 1990s. "This marks an important transformation in the distribution of MDD in the general pop
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Contact: Ann Bradley
abradley@mail.nih.gov
301-443-3860
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
3-Oct-2005


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