Friday, June 13, 2008


ARLINGTON, Va. (UPI) -- One in eight U.S. women gets depressed -- twice the rate of men -- a U.S. health group said.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness said that major depression is a medical illness that affects a person's mind, mood, body and behavior. It is more than "feeling down" because of a recent loss or family, work or financial stresses. It occurs when these feelings become more intense and persist to the point that they affect daily functioning.

Middle-age Hispanic women have the highest rate of symptoms followed by middle-aged African-American women. Young Asian American women have the second highest rate of suicide among those ages 15 to 24, but adolescent American Indian or Alaska natives are most likely to attempt suicide and die from suicide.

"Nearly 18 million Americans experience depression every year," Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director of National Alliance on Mental Illness. "Some experiences are unique to women, including post-partum changes, infertility and hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives."

The good news is that with correct diagnosis, most people can be treated effectively, the bad news is that two-thirds of people living with depression don't get the help they need, Duckworth said.

A 13-page brochure on women and depression can be downloaded at

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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