Why More Americans Suffer From Mental Disorders Than Anyone Else

By Alice G. Walton

That mental health disorders are pervasive in the United States is no secret. Americans suffer from all sorts of psychological issues, and the evidence indicates that they're not going anywhere despite (or because of?) an increasing number of treatment options. There are the mood disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and the less severe dysthymia (low grade depression); anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); substance abuse; and impulse control disorder (like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Research shows that while we're seeking treatment more, rates have not dropped much, if at all, in recent years. For depression alone, about one in 10 people in America has suffered from it in the last year. Twice that number will be affected over the course of a lifetime.

But how does the U.S. compare to other nations? The World Health Organization (WHO) has spent a good amount of time and resources determining how rates of mental health disorders fluctuate across the globe. It is no small task. The methods of data collection must maintain consistency across widely disparate cultures and languages, not to mention groups' varying willingness to talk about mental health problems in the first place. The WHO has come up with vast catalogues of mental health data, which they are constantly updating. See how the U.S. compares to other countries:

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/why-more-americans-suffer-from-mental-disorders-than-anyone-else/246035/