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FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- One in five adults in the United States, or 45.6 million people, had a mental illness in the past year, according to a federal government report.
The rate of mental illness was twice as high among people aged 18 to 25 (nearly 30 percent) than among those 50 and older (about 14 percent), and women were more likely than men to have had a mental illness in the previous year, 23 percent versus just under 16 percent, the findings showed.
The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health defined mental illness as having a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder. The survey included more than 65,000 people aged 12 and older in the United States. The report on the survey was released by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Among the other findings:
The survey also revealed that 2 million youth aged 12 to 17 (8 percent of that population) had a major depressive episode in the previous year. Young people who had a major depressive episode were more than twice as likely to use illicit drugs during that year than those without major depressive episode, 36 percent versus about 17 percent.
"Although mental illness remains a serious public health issue, increasingly we know that people who experience it can be successfully treated and can live full, productive lives," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release. "Like other medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, the key to recovery is identifying the problem and taking active measures to treat it as soon as possible."
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about mental illness.