Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS),1 a major U.S. medical insurer, suggests more than 4 percent of commercially insured Americans, or roughly 9 million people, suffer from clinical depression. Moreover, they report depression rates have jumped by 33 percent in the past five years, steadily increasing across all age and gender groups — with the rates of incidence for adolescents and millennials being of notable concern.
The implications of this data are far-reaching, especially given the reality that most people struggling with depression are also dealing with one or more other chronic health conditions, BCBS says. If you suffer from depression, you may also be affected by anxiety, diabetes, heart disease or another chronic illness. As the rates of depression continue to rise, you may be wondering what can be done to treat it. The good news is a number of natural treatments exist that will do more good for you than pharmaceutical drugs ever could.
Health Insurer BCBS Reports Depression Rates up 33 Percent in 5 Years
Based on insurance claims filed by 41 million of its privately insured members, BCBS reports diagnoses of clinical depression — also known as major depression — have risen by 33 percent during the past five years.2 Given the reality most sufferers of depression also battle other health conditions, such as anxiety, chronic illness or substance abuse, BCBS says major depression ranks behind high blood pressure as “the second most impactful condition on the overall health of commercially insured Americans.” 3
According to the report,4 women of any age are more likely than men to be clinically depressed. Since 2013, depression diagnoses have increased across every demographic, with the most dramatic increase noticeable among younger Americans. In the past five years, depression diagnosis rates have spiked:
65 percent among adolescent girls
47 percent among adolescent boys
47 percent among millennials
Depressed men and women may lose, on average, up to 9.6 years of healthy life, the report says. “Some of the literature is already starting to predict that by 2030 depression will be the No.1 cause for loss of longevity or life,” says Dr. Trent Haywood, chief medical officer for the BCBS Association.5
Does Where You Live Affect Depression Rates?
Although screening standards and environmental and socioeconomic differences vary across states and likely have some bearing on the BCBS data, where you live may be a factor for depression. (Keep in mind all of these numbers apply only to the group of privately insured Americans included in the BCBS claim sample. Rates of depression may be higher or lower in the general population.) With respect to geography, BCBS noted:6,7
Higher rates of major depression were observed in New England and the Pacific Northwest, as well as some pockets across the Midwest and South
Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Utah each have depression rates on the high side, around 6 percent
Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona have the lowest rates of depression at around 2 to 3 percent
From 2013 to 2016, 49 of the 50 states saw increasing rates of depression diagnoses, with only Hawaii showing a slight decline