WTF is Going on in Europe?

Nearly 40 percent of Europeans suffer mental illness
LONDON (Reuters) - Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden -- measured in the hundreds of billions of euros -- as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

"Mental disorders have become Europe's largest health challenge of the 21st century," the study's authors said.

At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.

"The immense treatment gap ... for mental disorders has to be closed," said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany's Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

"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."

Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries -- the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway -- and a population of 514 million people.

A direct comparison of the prevalence of mental illnesses in other parts of the world was not available because different studies adopt varying parameters.

Wittchen's team looked at about 100 illnesses covering all major brain disorders from anxiety and depression to addiction to schizophrenia, as well as major neurological disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

The results, published by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ENCP) on Monday, show an "exceedingly high burden" of mental health disorders and brain illnesses, he told reporters at a briefing in London.

Mental illnesses are a major cause of death, disability, and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.

Wittchen said that in Europe, that grim future had arrived early, with diseases of the brain already the single largest contributor to the EU's burden of ill health.

The four most disabling conditions -- measured in terms of disability-adjusted life years or DALYs, a standard measure used to compare the impact of various diseases -- are depression, dementias such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, alcohol dependence and stroke.

The last major European study of brain disorders, which was published in 2005 and covered a smaller population of about 301 million people, found 27 percent of the EU adult population was suffering from mental illnesses.

Although the 2005 study cannot be compared directly with the latest finding -- the scope and population was different -- it found the cost burden of these and neurological disorders amounted to about 386 billion euros ($555 billion) a year at that time. Wittchen's team has yet to finalize the economic impact data from this latest work, but he said the costs would be "considerably more" than estimated in 2005.

The researchers said it was crucial for health policy makers to recognize the enormous burden and devise ways to identify potential patients early -- possibly through screening -- and make treating them quickly a high priority.

"Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life," Wittchen said. "Only early targeted treatment in the young will effectively prevent the risk of increasingly largely proportions of severely ill...patients in the future."

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology expert at Imperial College London who was not involved in this study, agreed.

"If you can get in early you may be able to change the trajectory of the illness so that it isn't inevitable that people go into disability," he said. "If we really want not to be left with this huge reservoir of mental and brain illness for the next few centuries, then we ought to be investing more now."  [Source]
What the hell is going on in Europe???

Comments

  1. *shrugs* Explains WTF is going on in Europe.

    Money-chasing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. “So shyness becomes ‘avoidant personality disorder’...”

    Haha! The author’s right though. Many of the mental and emotional problems that we see in society today can be attributed to the breakdown of traditional social networks. The advent of the Internet along with other advancements in communications technology has, ironically, only further isolated people from one another.

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  3. @ Everyone esp Brothawolf
    Has anyone ever seen a movie called "The Seventh Continent"?

    Its about this Austrian family that commits suicide: A mother, a father, a daughter. This is based on a true story too. They do it in such a weird methodological way though. They withdraw their life savings, quit their jobs. They enjoy a huge expensive meal. They tell their relatives they are going on a vacation to the Seventh Continent (Australia).

    Then they systematically destroy everything they own. They flush ALL of their money down the toilet. All the money that they've earned their whole lives. And then one by one they kill themselves.

    The director Micheal Heneke said that when the film was shown in theaters people walked out in disgust/anger, or jeered booed in disbelief at the scene where all of the money gets flushed down the toilet. They couldn't take the idea of people destroying money. That scene upset people more than the rest of the film did, and a child dies the film.

    This also really happened because the police found pieces of paper currency and coins in the pipes after the deaths of the family. The surviving family insists to this day that the deaths were a homicide even though all evidence points to the contrary.

    The film talks about the empty rituals that the family lives though everyday and suggests that they see suicide as the only way to escape it. And even when they commit suicide...it's just another empty ritual for them.

    It's a pretty bleak movie.

    I don't know whats going on in Europe but that film and this article pose some pretty interesting questions.

    Were I being philisophical I'd suggest that at the heart of white/western culture is a deep void. People that think the white nuclear family, financial security cookie cutter life is heaven need to watch that film. It totally resonates.

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  4. Yeah, I was about to say that sometimes people really aren't suffering from mental disorders. It's just people trying to make a buck. But also, some mental disorders are being reclassified all the time. So the symptoms and causation are hard to narrow down. Not to say that there aren't a lot of people suffering from mental disorders, but I'd want to investigate those studies first.

    It could be like in the case of 2nd hand smoke. Yes, 1st can kill you, but 2nd hand has not been proven to be a significant threat to infants.

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  5. @ Student of the World:

    "Were I being philisophical I'd suggest that at the heart of white/western culture is a deep void. People that think the white nuclear family, financial security cookie cutter life is heaven need to watch that film. It totally resonates."

    That reminds me of the concept of "spiritual void" discussed in some of the native American studies courses I have taken. Essentially, this void was caused partly by the invasion of native lands by predominantly white western invaders. You have to be lacking in spiritual constitution to justify murdering races of people for money and global superiority. Unfortunately this is not limited to white westerners. Han Chinese are also guilty of this, as are Japanese and even US citizens in all of our oblivious activities.

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  6. @ Student of the World:

    I would like to check out that movie. Sounds really interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Marona

    Thank you. I was trying to find the right words and you said them for me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Digital Coyote9/13/11, 9:32 PM

    "Seventh Continent" is on Netflix. I'm streaming it now.

    @Marona: I think that's the most serious truth I've heard in a very long time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sorry. I meant to say movie.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The director Micheal Heneke said that when the film was shown in theaters people walked out in disgust/anger, or jeered booed in disbelief at the scene where all of the money gets flushed down the toilet. They couldn't take the idea of people destroying money. That scene upset people more than the rest of the film did, and a child dies the film.

    This reminds of me how in Star Trek (2009), witnessing genocide was less upsetting to "some" fans that the S/U kiss.

    ReplyDelete

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