How Common Is Major Depressive Disorder?: Depression Facts and Statistics
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How Common Is Major Depressive Disorder?: Depression Facts and Statistics

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Major depressive disorder (MDD) isn’t a small issue. It’s a big deal worldwide. It can really disrupt your life and make it hard for you to do even the simplest things. Depression and other mental health disorders are the single biggest cause of disabilities worldwide. One of the most troubling things about depression is that in low-income countries, nearly 75% of people who are dealing with mental health issues don’t get the help they need. That’s a lot of people who don’t have access to mental health treatment. 

How common is major depressive disorder and who is likely to be affected?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is an incredibly common mental health disorder:

What are the risk factors for developing major depressive disorder?

There is no single cause that is currently known to cause major depressive disorder. Several factors can increase your likelihood of developing the condition:

How likely are severe, moderate and mild MDD symptoms?

In 2019, the National Health Interview Survey shared the range of symptoms adults experienced over a two-week spread:

Access to care for major depressive disorder


Thankfully, there are a variety of effective treatment options available to help manage major depressive disorder. However, there can be barriers to getting effective treatment. Here are some enlightening stats:

  • In 2021, about 61% of adults in the United States with a major depressive episode received treatment within the past year. 
  • Roughly 75% of people who experienced severe impairment due to their depressive episode received treatment in the past year. 
  • Almost 49% of adults dealing with major depressive disorder didn’t get any treatment at all. 
  • More than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries don’t get the care they need. This can be because of the stigma surrounding mental health issues, a lack of trained providers, or a lack of investment in mental health infrastructure. 
  • Between 80% and 90% of people with MDD eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all MDD patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
  • When treatment is unsuccessful, almost half the time it can be because of medical noncompliance. Medical noncompliance is when a patient doesn’t take a prescribed medication or follow a prescribed course of treatment.


Does major depressive disorder coexist with other conditions?

Major depressive disorder often coexists with other mental health and medical conditions. This can make it more complicated with diagnosis and treatment. 

  • Major depressive disorder can cause up to a 64% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease.
  • Almost a quarter of cancer patients struggle with depression.
  • Up to 27% of people who suffer a stroke can also suffer from depression. 
  • It is three times more likely for heart attack survivors to experience depression during recovery. 
  • Major depressive disorder is the second most common mental health issue for people dealing with HIV.
  • Up to 90% of Parkinson’s disease patients face depression.
  • Approximately 50% of people who deal with eating disorders can also be affected by depression.
  • About one-third of people who have diabetes also deal with depression. 
  • Approximately 20% of women who struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome also grapple with depression. 
  • Women with major depressive disorder have a higher risk of low bone mass, which can make them more likely to have fractures or osteoporosis.


What is the economic impact of major depressive disorder?


The economic burden of major depressive disorder is vast. This cost can include health care costs, loss of productivity and decreased quality of life. Other economic impacts are as follows:

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, putting a massive strain on the global health scene. 
  • Major depressive disorder had an economic burden of $326.2 billion in the U.S. according to a 2021 study. 
  • About 31% of Americans who live below the federal poverty line say they have been diagnosed with depression at some point. 

Lightfully can help you overcome your struggle with major depressive disorder


Our mission at Lightfully Behavioral Health is to provide our clients with the highest-quality mental care. We use an approach called process-based therapy (PBT) to treat our clients who struggle with major depressive disorder. The framework of PBT is made up of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven components to provide whole-person-centered care


Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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