Objective: This study assessed the prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder among New York City adults. Methods: As part of the first community-specific Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States, depression and anxiety were assessed in a representative sample of 1,817 non-institutionalized adults in 2004. Results: A total of 8% had major depressive disorder and 4% had generalized anxiety disorder. Respondents with depression were more likely to be formerly married, publicly insured, younger, and U.S. born. Only 55% of adults with depression were diagnosed, and 38% of those with depression or anxiety were in treatment; individuals with a diagnosis of depression were more likely to receive treatment than those without a diagnosis (61% versus 7%; p<.001). Immigrants with depression were 60% less likely to be diagnosed than their U.S.-born counterparts; immigrants arriving in this country ten or more years ago had slightly more anxiety than immigrants arriving less than ten years ago (3% versus 2%, not significant). Among respondents with anxiety, 23% reported disability compared with 15% of those with depression. Compared with adults with neither diagnosis, adults with depression or anxiety were twice as likely to smoke tobacco (p<.05), adults with depression were twice as likely to have diabetes (p<.01), and those with anxiety were twice as likely to have asthma (p<.01). Conclusions: Mental disorders are often disabling and inadequately diagnosed and treated. Foreign-born adults experience barriers to diagnosis and treatment despite having less depression; anxiety may increase with time since immigration. Increased awareness of and linkage to mental health services are needed, especially in larger, more diverse urban communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health