Major depressive disorder risk higher for middle-age Native Americans

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 24, 2005

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Those who are African-American, Asian or Latino are less likely to have a major depressive disorder in their lifetime than those who are Native American. Other factors that increase the risk of this condition include being female, middle-age or poor, according to a study published in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism analyzed data from the 2001-02 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions finding that the risk of depression increases significantly between ages 12 and 16 and grows steadily until the early 40s. Women were twice as likely to develop this condition but also were more likely to seek treatment. Native Americans were most at risk, with just over 19% developing it in their lifetime. Asians were at the lowest risk, with nearly 9% developing at some point in their lives.

The paper also found a link between this disorder and substance dependence. About 14% of those who currently have the disorder abuse alcohol, nearly 5% use illicit drugs, and 26% smoke or use other nicotine products.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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