Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Middle Age Stress

Strange things are happening to the nation's mental health. Typically, young adults are the most stressed out. Their life is in turmoil as they go to school, look for a job, find a marriage partner, and move from place to place. Now people aged 45 to 54 are the most distressed, thanks to growing economic uncertainty (starting well before the Great Recession).

In 2010, a substantial 12.2 percent of 45-to-54-year-olds reported experiencing 14 or more mentally unhealthy days in the past month. That's one in eight (!) people in the age group who feel like they are losing it as often as not. That figure is up from 10.6 percent in 2000 and 8.9 percent in 1993 (the earliest data available).

Other age groups are in trouble too. In fact, more than 11 percent of people ranging in age from 18 to 64 are in mental anguish at least half the time. Among people aged 65 or older, frequent mental distress afflicts only 6.3 to 7.4 percent.

Source: CDC, Health-Related Quality of Life, BRFSS Trend Data

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