How many Americans suffer from chronic depression?

Answered by: Myrna Weissman

The prevalence of depression varies by whether you define it as moderate or severe or whether you include mild depressions without impairment. But let's just take the moderate case; I think the conservative figures are that about 10 percent of adults will experience a moderate depression sometime in their lives.

Now, if you include the more mild depressions, then the figure gets up to about 15 percent.

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Myrna Weissman, Ph.D.
Diane Goldman Kemper Family Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry 

Dr. Weissman is a Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the School of Public Health at Columbia University and Chief of the Department in Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric institute. Until 1987, she was a Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Director of the Depression Research Unit. She was a Visiting Senior Scholar (1979-1980) at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. In 1974, she received a Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale Univer...
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