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One-quarter of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year...according to the largest and most detailed survey of the nation's mental health, published yesterday.

The United States is poised to rank No. 1 globally for mental illness, researchers said.

Less than half of those in need get treated. Those who seek treatment typically do so after a decade or more of delays... the treatment they receive is usually inadequate.

Younger sufferers are especially overlooked, the survey found, even though mental illness is very much a disease of youth. Half of those who will ever be diagnosed with a mental disorder show signs of the disease by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24. But few get help.

"You wouldn't rely on your priest for treatment if you had breast cancer," Insel said. "Why would you go to your priest for a major depressive disorder? These are real medical and brain disorders, and they need to be treated that way."

The survey focused on four major categories of mental illness: anxiety disorders (such as panic and post-traumatic stress disorders); mood disorders (such as major depression and bipolar disease); impulse control disorders (such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder); and substance abuse.

Almost half of Americans meet the criteria for such an illness at some point in their lives, the survey found.

But most of those affected receive either no help or are being treated by nonmedical providers or nonspecialists, whose care typically fails to meet minimal standards of adequacy, Kessler said.


Study: U.S. Leads In Mental Illness, Lags in Treatment

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 7, 2005; A03

SOURCE: National Comorbidity Survey Replication | By Seth Hamblin - THE WASHINGTON POST

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