Thursday, June 03, 2004

In case you didn't know it or believe it, the United States is a seriously mentally ill society.

In the latest issue of JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Consortium (say that one quickly ten times) reports its findings from 60,463 face-to-face interviews over two years in fourteen countries spanning the Americas (Colombia, Mexico, US), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine), the Middle East (Lebanon), Africa (Nigeria) and Asia (Japan, China). The results are broken down into types of disorders (anxiety, mood, impulse-control, substance) and severity of disorders (serious, moderate, mild). Any way you slice it, Americans are one messed up people.

Tops in "anxiety" disorders are Americans at 18.2% of the population. Tops in "mood" disorders are Americans at 9.6%. Tops in "impulse-control" disorders are Americans at 6.8%. The US lost out to Ukrainians in "substance" disorders, finishing second at 3.8%.

On the severity scale, Americans were #1 in "serious" disorders at 7.7% of the population; #1 in "moderate" disorders at 9.4%; and #2 behind France in "mild" disorders at 9.2%. Of course the US was tops overall with 26.3% of the population reporting some form of mental disorder.

Combining severe and moderate cases, 17.1% of Americans suffer from forms of mental illness which should be treated. Second were Ukrainians at 12.2%; third were Lebanese at 10.8%. For comparison, those nasty French were a mere 8.8% and the Germans just 4.5%.

As a college professor I cannot tell you how many profoundly depressed, lonely people I see come through my classes. Most of those are drugged up to get them through their days, but what is it about America that quite frankly drives us crazy?


At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "drugged up"? Prozac, buspar? Or are you talking about illegal drugs?


At 10:59 AM, Blogger Gen. Glut said...

I meant the legal ones such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc., although the legal ones such as alcohol are also popular.


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