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Sharper picture of major depression and alcohol disorders

ulation and specific risk for baby-boomers aged 45 to 64 years," note the authors.

Risk for the onset of MDD increases sharply between age 12 and age 16 and more gradually up to the early 40s when it begins to decline, with mean age of onset about age 30. Women are twice as likely as men to experience MDD and somewhat more likely to receive treatment. About 60 percent of persons with MDD received treatment specifically for the disorder, with mean treatment age at 33.5 years--a lag time of about 3 years between onset and treatment. Of all persons who experienced MDD, nearly one-half wanted to die, one-third considered suicide, and 8.8 percent reported a suicide attempt.

Among race-ethnic groups, Native Americans showed the highest (19.17 percent) lifetime MDD prevalence, followed by whites (14.58 percent), Hispanics (9.64 percent), Blacks (8.93 percent), and Asian or Pacific Islanders (8.77 percent). Since information is scarce on diagnosed mental disorders among Native Americans, this finding appears to warrant increased attention to the mental health needs of that group, the authors maintain.

Among persons with current MDD, 14.1 percent also have an AUD, 4.6 percent have a drug use disorder, and 26 percent have nicotine dependence. More than 37 percent have a personality disorder and more than 36 percent have at least one anxiety disorder. Among persons with lifetime MDD, 40.3 percent had experienced an AUD, 17.2 percent had experienced a drug use disorder, and 30 percent had experienced nicotine dependence.

"Major depression is a prevalent psychiatric disorder and a pressing public health problem. That it so often accompanies alcohol dependence raises questions about when and how to treat each diagnosis," says NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. "Today's results both inform clinical practice and provide researchers with information to advance hypotheses about common biobehavioral factors
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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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