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38% of Europeans are Mentally Ill, Suggests Study

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A new study reveals that about 165 million Europeans or 38% of the continent’s population suffer from mental ailments like dementia, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Among these patients, only 33% receive the required medication or therapy. As a result, mental ailments have become a huge social and economic burden. The costs have risen to hundreds of billions of euros as mentally ill Europeans are unable to work productively, besides suffering breakdowns in personal relationships.

Biggest Health Problem
The researchers say mental ailments have become the biggest health challenge for Europeans in this century. The problem is compounded by the reluctance of some big pharma companies to invest in research on brain workings and their effects on behavior. This has increased the burden of funding for these projects on health charities and governments.

Gap in Treatment
Health experts say there is a huge gap in the treatment for mental ailments. Even the few who receive treatment, get it after considerable delays ranging up to several years. And, the therapies they get may not be appropriate or the most modern.

Details About the Study
The study covered populations in 30 European countries adding up to 514 million citizens. Data about mental disorders in other areas in the world were not available as various studies adopt different parameters. The researchers studied about 100 ailments including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, addiction, depression and anxiety. Their findings were recently published by the European College of Neuropyshopharmacology (ENCP).

Europe Affected by Mental Illnesses
Mental ailments have become a leading cause of economic burden, disability and even death worldwide. The WHO estimates that by the year 2020, depression could become a major cause of disease among people of all age groups. In Europe, this has already occurred as brain disorders have become the leading cause of health ailments.

Economic Costs
A previous study in 2005 had covered around 301 million Europeans and had found that 27% among them were mentally ill. It had estimated the economic cost of mental disorders at $555 billion. The latest study did not determine the economic cost of its findings, but estimates that it would definitely be much more than the 2005 figure.

Catch Them Young
The researchers opine that it is crucial to detect mental illness early in young people to treat it effectively. Often, the mental ailment worsens with age so identifying potential illness early is necessary for prompt and effective treatment, which can save future problems and costs.

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