The economic burden of depression

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1986 Nov;8(6):387-94. doi: 10.1016/0163-8343(86)90018-6.


This article provides estimates of direct treatment costs and indirect costs from lost productivity associated with the morbidity and mortality of depression. Data are based on epidemiologic estimates of the prevalence of major depressive illness and on the number of suicides assumed to be secondary to depression. The number of hospitalizations, hospital days, physician and mental health provider visits, home/nursing home costs, and pharmaceutical costs are estimated. The direct and indirect costs are estimated to be approximately $16.3 billion per year. These economic figures provide a lower-bound estimate of the full economic burden of major depression and further emphasize the need for timely recognition and treatment to potentially minimize the negative impact of the illness on society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / economics*
  • Depressive Disorder / mortality
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Suicide / epidemiology
  • United States


  • Psychotropic Drugs