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Men, Seniors and Minorities Miss Out on Depression Treatments

Update Date: Feb 07, 2014 02:25 PM EST

Depression is a serious mental illness that could lead to death by suicide if it is not treated. Even though statistics reveal that women are more likely to get treatment for depression, these numbers do not mean that women are the only people suffering from depression. Several studies have suggested that for certain groups of people, seeking help for depression is difficult. According to a new study, researchers found that men, seniors, ethnic minorities and poor people are not getting treated for depression.

For this study, the research team headed by Saranrat Wittayanukorn, who is a doctoral student at the Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy department of health outcomes research and policy, analyzed data on 13,320 American adults over 18-years-old. The participants had answered a nine-question survey that measured depression level. The researchers found that 24.1 percent of the sample could be considered depressed. 36.6 percent of the depressed group could be categorized in the moderate-to-severe depressed group.

The researchers found that overall, 70 percent of the people categorized as depressed did not receive any kind of treatment. The team identified several factors that were tied to depression, which were obesity, poverty, female, chronic illness and lack of health insurance. Even though women were more likely to be diagnosed, the researchers found that young women were more likely to be receiving treatment. On the other hand, men who were Mexican- or African-American and over the age of 80 were more likely to not be receiving any kind of care at all.

"This elegant, nationally representative study highlights the remarkably low rate of any depression treatment for those in the most need," said Bradley Gaynes, M.D., MPH, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, reported by Medical Xpress. "This severely depressed group is the one for whom the benefits of treatment, especially medication, are most clearly established,"

The study was published in General Hospital Psychiatry.

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