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.
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 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.
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!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences