Americans with mental illness are more likely to be treated for it now than they were 10 years ago, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and several drugmakers. The rate of mental illness has remained the same, but researchers hope that with more treatment inroads in the future, rates will eventually start to drop.
A survey of 4,319 adults between 2001 and 2003 found that one-third of those with a verified psychiatric disorder were undergoing treatment. That was up from one-fifth in a survey in the 1990s. The share of people treated rose to 20% from 12%. In a worrisome finding, blacks and Hispanics with a verified disorder were only half as likely to get treatment as whites.
The greatest treatment gains came in the primary-care setting, where family doctors increasingly prescribe drugs for depression and other psychiatric ailments. The study was published in the June 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.