Mental Disorders Plague Nearly 40 Percent Of Europeans
Posted by Emily Jacobson on September 5, 2011 12:04 PM
Mental disorders may be a normal part of a Europeanís life, since a new study reports that 38 percent of them suffer from one each year.
Researchers analyzed data from 514 million people in 30 European countries, looking at 100 different mental health and neurological disorders. Results showed that mental disorders place a very high burden on society, as they are a major cause of death and disability.
Nearly 165 million people suffer from mental disorders in Europe, such as anxiety, depression and dementia, the study reports, and only about a third of them receive the therapy and medication they need. The four most debilitating disorders are depression, dementia, alcohol dependence and stroke.
"Mental disorders have become Europe's largest health challenge of the 21st century," wrote the study authors, as quoted by Reuters.
Mental disorders are not only a burden for those who experience them Ė they also pose a large social and economic burden, costing the country hundreds of billions of euros. When people with mental disorders donít get help, this can lead to a breakdown of work and personal relationships. Unfortunately, some large drug companies are moving away from supporting research on the brainís functioning, forcing the government to back down on neuroscience funding.
"The immense treatment gap ... for mental disorders has to be closed. Those few receiving treatment do so with considerable delays of an average of several years and rarely with the appropriate, state-of-the-art therapies." said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, lead author of the study and director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Dresden University, as quoted by Reuters.
According to the researchers, itís imperative that health policy makers take steps to identify potential patients early on so they can be treated.
"Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life," said Wittchen, as quoted by Reuters. "Only early targeted treatment in the young will effectively prevent the risk of increasingly largely proportions of severely ill patients in the future."
The results were published by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
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