The casualties of a stressful life are all around us and, according to a recent study, many Americans are not handling those stresses so well.
A recent report conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health claims that roughly 26.2 percent of American adults age 18 or older suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a year.
That works out to roughly one in four adults, but the NIMN study adds that the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion -- about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 -- who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, researchers claim that mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada.
"Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time," the report reads. "Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity."
The NIMN reports breaks down a variety of common mental illnesses people suffer from. They range from fairly common mood disorders to the much more serious anxiety and schizophrenia disorders. Among these, anxiety disorders were the most common, as some 40 million American adults ages 18 and older suffer from some form of anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias such as social phobia, agoraphobia or a specific phobia.
The NIMN report claims anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse. Also, most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.5.
The report also lists a subcategory within anxiety disorders labeled panic disorders, affecting approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, claiming about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year suffer from a panic disorder.
The NIMN statistics regarding suicide stemming from mental disorder were startling. In 2006, 33,300, or approximately 11 per 100,000 people, died by suicide in the United States and more than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.
The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men over age 85, the report claims, and four times as many men as women die by suicide; however, researchers add that women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.