Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s a common mental disorder affecting more than 19.4 million adults in the US. A new analysis finds that healthcare costs are higher among individuals with undiagnosed symptoms of depression.

Happify Healthy conducted an analysis of the National Health and Wellness Survey data.  The survey applied more than 30 clinically validated scales and assessments on the date of 200 health conditions reported by the patients. Analysis of the survey data shows that individuals with undiagnosed symptoms of depression have 149% higher healthcare costs than those with no symptoms of depression and 38% higher costs as compared to those with the diagnosis of depression.

The National Health and Wellness Survey finds that the prevalence of depression symptoms increase among individuals with undiagnosed and unrecognized depression. The same prevalence exceeds 50% among individuals who have chronic health conditions and unrecognized symptoms of depression. More than 40% of Americans report having a chronic health condition. The aggregate cost of this is over $3.7 trillion. The Happify Healthy analysis demonstrates a potential solution to reduce healthcare cost: through early diagnosis and treatment of depression, especially among those with chronic illnesses.

Typically, there are 5 key factors that cause people to remain oblivious of depression: lack of ability to perceive illness, poor mental health literacy, stigma associated with mental health, skepticism related to treatment, and preference for self treatment. 

By eliminating these five barriers, we might reduce the incidence of unrecognized depression. With more people recruiting medical help for depression, the overall healthcare costs related to unrecognized depression could be cut down significantly.