Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The size and burden of mental disorders in Europe

06.09.2011
A major landmark study released today by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) sheds new light on the state of Europe's mental and neurological health.

The study finds reveal that mental disorders have become Europe's largest health challenge in the 21st century. The study also highlights that the majority of mental disorders remain untreated. Taken together with the large and increasing number of 'disorders of the brain', the true size and burden is even significantly higher.

This three-year multi-method study, published today in European Neuropsychopharmacology, covers 30 countries (the European Union plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway) and a population of 514 million people. All major mental disorders for children and adolescents (2-17), adults (18-65), and the elderly (65+ years) are included, as well as several neurological disorders. The inclusion of the full spectrum of disorders across all age groups, examined simultaneously in a single study, is unprecedented.

The study's key findings include:

Each year, 38.2% of the EU's population – or 164.8 million people – suffers from a mental disorder.

Mental disorders are prevalent in all age groups and affect the young as well as the elderly, revealing though differences in what diagnoses are the most frequent.

The most frequent disorders are anxiety disorders (14.0%), insomnia (7.0%), major depression (6.9%), somatoform disorders (6.3%), alcohol and drug dependence (>4%), attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD, 5% in the young), and dementia (1% among those aged 60-65, 30% among those aged 85 and above).

Except for substance disorders and mental retardation, no significant cultural or country variations were found.

No indications for increasing overall rates of mental disorders were found, when compared with the previous comparable study in 2005, which covered a restricted range of 13 diagnoses in adults only. The notable exception is an increase of dementia due to increased life expectancy.

No improvements were found in the notoriously low treatment rates for mental disorders in comparison with the 2005 data. Still only one third of all cases receive treatment.

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.
Additionally, many millions patients in the EU suffer from neurologic disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, cases that may have to be counted on top of the above estimates.

As the result, disorders of the brain, as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), are the largest contributor to the EU's total morbidity burden, accounting for 26.6% of the total disease burden, covering the full spectrum of all diseases.

The four most disabling single conditions (in terms of DALY) were depression, dementias, alcohol use and stroke.

The study also identified the critical challenges to improved basic and clinical research on mental and neurological disorders in the region. These include:

Disciplinary fragmentation in research and practice, with different concepts, approaches and diagnostic systems.
The marginalisation and stigmatisation of many disorders of the brain.
The lack of public awareness about the full range of disorders of the brain and their burden on society.

The study concludes that "Concerted priority action is needed at all levels, including substantially increased funding for basic and clinical as well as public health research in order to identify better strategies for improved prevention and treatment for disorders of the brain as the core health challenge of the 21st century."

Principal investigator and joint first author Hans-Ulrich Wittchen says, "To address this challenge, we have to address two high priority issues. First, the immense treatment gap documented for mental disorders has to be closed. Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life. We have to acknowledge that only early targeted treatment in the young will effectively prevent the risk of increasingly larger proportions of severely ill multimorbid patients in the future".

"Second, we have to take into account the developmental pathways of both mental and neurological disorders simultanously. Both groups of disorders share many common mechanism and have reciprocal effects on each other. Only a joint approach of both disciplines, covering the spectrum of disorders of the brain across the lifespan, will lead to an improved understanding of the causes and improved treatments".

"The low levels of awareness and knowledge about disorders of the brain, their prevalence and burden, are a major obstacle for progress in this direction. Dramatically increased funding of research on the causes and the treatment of disorders of the brain to reach this goal is needed. In addition, a better allocation of treatment resources and improved provision of care are priority topics for the more immediate future."

This paper was prepared in the framework of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) and European Brain Council (EBC) Task Force project on the Size and Burden and Cost of Disorders of the Brain in Europe 2010, supported by funds of the ECNP Council, the EBC and Lundbeck.

About ECNP

ECNP is an independent scientific association whose mission is to advance the science of the brain, promote better treatment and enhance brain health. The annual ECNP Congress attracts scientists and clinicians from across the world to discuss the latest advances in brain research in Europe's largest meeting on brain science. More information about ECNP, its aims and activities, can be found at www.ecnp.eu.

Sonja Mak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ecnp.eu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>