The Economic Burden of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2019)

Advances in Therapy, 2023


Previous societal burden estimations for major depressive disorder (MDD) often fail to account for several hidden cost components. This study provides a comprehensive evaluation of societal costs for adults with MDD in the United States (USA) in 2019. The potential impact of a more effective, rapid-acting MDD therapy vs standard of care on the economic burden of MDD was estimated to illustrate the utility of such a framework in evaluating new interventions.


This study used a prevalence-based human capital approach. Incremental costs (2019 US dollars) per individual with MDD were derived from national survey inputs and published literature and included incremental healthcare costs and indirect costs. For each cost component, the societal costs were extrapolated by multiplying the per-patient costs by the number of individuals with MDD. The impact of a more effective, rapid-acting novel therapy on the economic burden of MDD was then simulated on the basis of these inputs.


In 2019, the number of adults with MDD in the USA was estimated at 19.8 million (62.7% female; 32.9% severe MDD), and the incremental societal economic burden of MDD was estimated at $333.7 billion ($382.4 billion in 2023 US dollars), or $16,854 per adult with MDD. The primary cost drivers were healthcare costs ($127.3 billion; 38.1%), household-related costs ($80.1 billion; 24.0%), presenteeism ($43.3 billion; 13.0%), and absenteeism ($38.4 billion; 11.5%). In the simulated scenario, a hypothetical novel therapy with a 50.0% early response rate was associated with a 7.7% reduction in the economic burden of MDD relative to standard of care over 12 months.


The economic burden of MDD is substantial and extends beyond healthcare costs, underscoring the impact of MDD across multiple aspects of life. Such a broad societal perspective should be considered in assessing the impact of the advent of effective, rapid-acting MDD therapies.

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Greenberg P, Chitnis A, Louie D, Suthoff E, Chen SY, Maitland J, Gagnon-Sanschagrin P, Fournier AA, Kessler RC