Study finds that few receive appropriate treatment for disorders:
Though effective treatments are available for individuals suffering from chronic depression and anxiety, very little is known about how often these treatments are used or how prevalent these conditions are among the nation's general population. But in a first-of-its-kind study, UCLA researchers have developed estimates for both the prevalence of chronic psychiatric illness in the general population and how often individuals suffering from such illnesses receive appropriate treatment.
In the study, published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed journal Psychiatric Services and currently available online, researchers found that approximately 4.7 percent of the nation's population suffers from persistent depression or anxiety disorders, with a minority of those afflicted receiving adequate medication or counseling. The study was based on data from Healthcare for Communities, a nationally representative household survey of adults in the United States. The researchers analyzed responses from 1,642 adults with major depression or anxiety disorders. These surveys, conducted in 1997 and 1998, with follow-ups approximately two-and-a-half years later, assessed diagnosis, quality of life, treatment satisfaction, medical conditions, suicidal thoughts, insurance, and the use of medications and counseling.
From a policy perspective, this study indicates that we have to do much better in terms of helping people in the population and clinicians in primary care, said lead author Dr. Alexander S. Young , a UCLA professor of psychiatry  and director of health services for the Department of Veterans Affairs Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC).