Major depression diagnoses surged, especially among adolescents and millennials, from 2013 through 2016, according to a study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA)’s Health of America Report.
The report, based on medical claims data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health IndexSM (BCBS Health Index?), also shows how major depression diagnoses are linked to other chronic health conditions. The study finds that:
* Major depression has a diagnosis rate of 4.4 percent for BCBS members. Diagnosis rates rose by 33 percent from 2013 through 2016 and climbed fastest among adolescents (up 63 percent) and millennials (up 47 percent).
* Diagnosis rates vary by as much at 300 percent by state from a high of 6.4 percent in Rhode Island to lows of 2.1 in Hawai’i and 3.2 percent in Nevada in 2016. By city, diagnosis rates range more than 400 percent from a high of 6.8 percent in Topeka, Kansas, to lows of 1.5 percent in Laredo, Texas, and 2 percent in McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas.
* Women are diagnosed with major depression at double the rate of men (6 percent and 3 percent, respectively).
* Those diagnosed with major depression are nearly 30 percent less healthy on average than those not diagnosed with major depression, according to the BCBS Health Index measurement.
* Chronic conditions are strongly linked to major depression, as 85 percent of people who are diagnosed with major depression also have one or more serious chronic health conditions. Nearly 30 percent of these members have four or more other health conditions
* Those diagnosed with major depression use health care services more than those without a depression diagnosis. This results in two times the health care spending (about $10,673 compared to $4,283).
“It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents are related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals,” said Dr. Karyn Horowitz, a psychiatrist affiliated with Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. “Increased use of electronics, video games more commonly in boys and social media/texting more commonly in girls, can lead to increased conflict both within the home and with peers.”
This is the twentieth study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield: The Health of America Report series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence, which uses a claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care.
Find out more at www.bcbs.com/healthofamerica.
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