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Mental Health Woes Remain One of the Top Reasons for Doctor Visits

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: March 6, 2008

Depression and other mental health problems prompted 156 million visits to doctors' offices, clinics, and hospital outpatient departments in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Problems with mental health were one of the top three reasons for Americans to seek treatment. Also, the number of mental health visits has increased 30 percent since 1996.

AHRQ's analysis ranked the other top reasons for getting non-emergency ambulatory care in 2005:

  • Back problems prompted 139 million visits and cost $17.6 billion.
  • Trauma-related disorders, such as fractures, prompted 133 million visits that cost $27 billion.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, grouped together, resulted in 93 million visits that cost $12 billion.
  • High blood pressure resulted in 79 million visits and cost $10 billion.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid.

Go to the MEPS Web site for tables with the medical care costs of other conditions in 2005. For further information or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, contact Bob Isquith at (301-427-1539).

Current as of March 2008


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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