The Increasing Economic Burden of Major Depressive Disorder

The prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) grew from a rate of 6.4% in 2005 to 6.8% in 2010 with the cost of MDD to employers increasing 21.5% over the same time period, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) grew from a rate of 6.4% in 2005 to 6.8% in 2010 with the cost of MDD to employers increasing 21.5% over the same time period, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study “The Economic Burden of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010) found overall costs of MDD to employers to be $216 billion. Approximately half of the increase in costs from 2005 to 2010 was attributable to workplace costs, 45%-47% to direct costs, and 5% to suicide-related costs.

Presenteeism accounted for three-quarters of workplace costs with roughly 32 incremental workdays lost each year of the study due to presenteeism by the average individual with MDD.

The authors found that individuals over the age of 50 years accounted for a higher incidence of MDD and that after the 2008 economic downturn, more suffers became unemployed or underemployed.

“While the rate of treatment increased by 6.1 percentage points among the full-time employed, less pronounced rates of increase were observed among the part-time employed and the not-employed groups (1.2 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively),” the authors wrote.

The direct cost to individuals can be broken into 2 categories of nearly equal size: the change in number of MDD cases and the change in cost per case. However, more research is needed to understand the underlying drivers of these changes, according to the researchers.

Among the several factors that have likely contributed to the increase in costs from 2005 to 2010 include increase in MDD prevalence, increate in treatment cost per individual with MDD, and changes in employment and treatment rates.

“Taken together, the economic burden of adults with MDD is large and has grown over time,” the authors concluded.