WASHINGTON, June 7 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States leads in mental illness globally with 46 percent of Americans suffering mental disorders ranging from anxiety, depression to substance abuse in their lifetime, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Within the past year, about 25 percent of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness, and fully 25 percent of those had a "serious" disorder that significantly disrupted their ability to function day to day, according to a one-year-and-a-half survey of the country's mental health, conducted by the University of Michigan.
Simultaneous occurrence of two or more illnesses was reported in nearly half of the mental disorder sufferers.
The survey is by far the largest and most detailed of its kind in the United States, during which nearly 300 trained interviewers visited 9,282 households selected at random in 34 states.
It focused on four major categories of mental illness. They are anxiety disorders, such as panic and post-traumatic stress disorders; mood disorders, such as major depression and bipolar disease; impulse control disorders, such as hyperactivity; and alcohol or drug abuse.
Those Americans with mental disorders will mostly seek treatment after delays of years or often more than a decade, if ever, the survey found, adding that it is much so among younger sufferers.
Half of those who will ever be diagnosed with a mental disorder show signs of the disease by the age of 14, and three-quarters by 24.
One third of people in need of treatment rely solely on nonprofessional sources such as Internet support groups and spiritual advisers despite the availability of effective treatments for many mental illnesses, said the newspaper.
The survey, published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, attributed the low treatment rate to factors including inattention to early warning signs, inadequate health insurance and the lingering stigma that surrounds mental illness. Enditem