Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

MDD in the US: Prevalent, Comorbid, and Disabling

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Feb 14; Hasin, et al

Among US adults, DSM-5 major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly prevalent, comorbid, and disabling, according to a recent study that found that while most cases received some treatment, a substantial minority did not. Researchers conducted in-person interviews with a representative sample of US noninstitutionalized civilian adults (≥18 years, n= 36,309) who participated in the 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (NESARC-III). Data were collected from April 2012 to June 2013 and were analyzed in 2016-2017. They found:

  • Of total participants, 12-month and lifetime prevalence of MDD were 10.4% and 20.6%, respectively.
  • Odds of 12-month MDD were significantly lower in men and in African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic adults than in white adults and were higher in younger adults and those with low incomes (≤$19,999).
  • Most lifetime MDD cases were moderate (39.7%) or severe (49.5%).
  • Almost 70% with lifetime MDD had some type of treatment.
  • Among 12.9% of those with lifetime MDD, all episodes occurred just after the death of someone close and lasted <2 months.


Hasin DS, Sarvet AL, Meyers JL, et al. Epidemiology of adult DSM-5 major depressive disorder and its specifiers in the United States. [Published online ahead of print February 14, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4602.