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One in Three Patients Hospitalized for Depression Also Has a Substance Abuse-related Mental Disorder

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: December 13, 2005

One third of the 713,000 Americans hospitalized for depression or other affective disorders in 2003 also had a secondary diagnosis of substance abuse, such as alcohol or cocaine, according to the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Other findings include:

  • More than half of hospital admissions for depression began in the emergency room (ER).
  • The following percentages of patients were admitted through the ER:
    • 60 percent of uninsured patients.
    • About half (53 percent) of Medicaid patients.
    • 46 percent of privately insured patients.
    • 43 percent of Medicare patients.
  • Depression and other affective disorders were the fourth most common diagnosis in children and adolescents, accounting for 87,000 hospital stays.
  • Depression and other affective disorders were eighth most common diagnosis among hospital patients as a whole.
  • Hospital charges for affective disorders totaled $8.6 billion.
    • The average charge for an affective disorder hospital stay was $12,100, but charges varied greatly.
    • Stays paid by Medicare were the most expensive—$16,800.
    • Stays paid by Medicaid—$12,800.
    • Stays of the uninsured—$10,900.
    • Stays paid by private insurance—$9,100.

This information was produced using HCUPnet, an online query system that provides access to health statistics and information on hospital stays from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). This project comprises a family of health care databases and related software tools developed through a Federal-State-industry partnership and sponsored by AHRQ. HCUP includes the largest set of publicly available databases on all patients in the United States, regardless of type of insurance or whether the patients had insurance. To access HCUPnet, go to

For more information on this AHRQ News and Numbers, contact Bob Isquith in AHRQ's Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer at or call (301) 427-1539.


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


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