Background. This paper summarises the methods and sources of data used to estimate costs of affective disorders and presents the results.
Method. A timing model employing regression analysis was developed to estimate morbidity costs. This model measures the lifetime effect on current income of individuals with affective disorders, taking into account the timing of onset and the duration of these disorders.
Results. Affective disorders imposed an estimated US$20.8 billion burden in 1985 and US$30.4 billion in 1990 in the US. Affective disorders represent 21 % of the costs of all mental illnesses. Direct treatment costs comprised 58.4% of the total in 1985; morbidity costs, 8.1%; mortality costs, the present value of future earnings lost due to premature mortality, 28.9%, based on a 6% discount rate; and other related costs, including the cost of crime, lost productivity due to incarceration, and caregiver services, 4.6%. Private sources account for 49% of the total direct expenditures for treatment of persons with affective disorders; state and local funds, 26%; and federal funds, 25%.
Conclusion. In light of the high burden of affective disorders on societal resources, more attention should be directed at comprehensive, research-based strategies to reduce the prevalence of these disorders in the United States.