- Blue Cross Blue Shield released data on depression from its 41 million customers
- Depressive disorder diagnoses are rising, particularly in teens and adults aged 18-35
- Women are diagnosed with major depression at greater rates than men
No, you’re not imagining it: Depression is WAY more common now that it used to be. That’s the major finding from a large new health report.
The report, using data compiled by Blue Cross Blue Shield, examined the health claims of the insurance company’s 41 million customers. It specifically looked at numbers of depressive disorder diagnoses from 2013 compared to those from 2016, and there were big jumps across all age groups.
The most dramatic rises were seen in adolescents and millennials—12- to 17-year-olds saw a 63 percent increase in depression diagnoses, while there was a 47 percent increase for 18- to 35-year-olds.
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But it wasn’t just young people: the data shows a 26 percent increase in depression diagnoses for 35- to 49-year-olds and a 23 percent increase for 50- to 64-year-olds.
In total, it found that nine million commercially insured people are depressed. It also found that 4.4 percent of young adults and 2.6 percent of teens have clinically diagnosed depression and that women are diagnosed with major depression at greater rates than men.
The most disturbing finding: People diagnosed with ‘feeling blue’ were found to have a shorter life expectancy than those who weren’t diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Part of this, the study says, it’s due to the fact that often people who are depressed are diagnosed with related conditions that coincide with depression.
On average, women who are depressed had reduced life expectancy of 9.5 years, while men with major depression saw a 9.7 year reduction in their life expectancy.
The many symptoms of clinical depression can vary from person to person, but those who exhibit the following signs most of the day, nearly every day for weeks may be suffering from a depressive disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
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The report however didn’t offer insight as to what was causing the increase in the depressive disorder diagnoses—so it’s not clear if more people are depressed, or if more people are seeking help and treatment for their condition (or maybe a combination of the two).
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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