Depression affects more than 13 million adults in the United States each year and costs billions of dollars in treatment, loss of productivity, workers’ compensation and mortality, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Moreover, depression affects quality of life and is associated with chronic medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, physical inactivity and binge drinking, the agency said.
A report published recently in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report collected data on 235,067 people in 45 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. It found that rates of depression vary widely from state to state, ranging from a low of 4.8 percent in North Dakota to a high of 14.8% in Mississippi.
After reading the report, Eva E. Redei from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University said current therapies for depression are not completely effective. “Current treatment possibilities are very limited,” she said. “We are in the stone ages, compared to other areas of medicine.”
But research marches on. Now there is a study that shows that there may well be a connection between depression and bodily levels of vitamin D. A study published in the International Archives of Medicine finds that the likelihood of having depression is significantly increased in people with deficient levels of vitamin D.