Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal | Science News



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Long-lasting mental health isn’t normal

Most people have at least one bout of depression, anxiety or other disorder, study suggests

12:58pm, February 7, 2017
person looking sad

FEELING NORMAL  The vast majority of people experience at least a temporary mental disorder by age 38, a long-term study finds. A small percentage stays mentally healthy and often, but not always, reports enhanced well-being.

Abnormal is the new normal in mental health.

A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.

Only 171 of 988 participants, or 17 percent, experienced no anxiety disorders, depression or other mental ailments from late childhood to middle age, researchers report in the February Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Of the rest, half experienced a transient mental disorder, typically just a single bout of depression, anxiety or substance abuse by middle age.

“For many, an episode of mental disorder is like influenza, bronchitis, kidney stones, a broken bone or other highly prevalent conditions,” says study coauthor Jonathan

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