Study Estimates Roughly 40 Percent of Europeans Suffer From Mental Illness

We have previously discussed studies showing high levels of mental illness in the United States. Now a Europeans shows a similarly high rate 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.” What is interesting is that the rate is higher in Europe as compared to the U.S. study cited earlier. The European study however appears to be broader in considering neurological conditions associated with illnesses like stroke.

The U.S. study found roughly 30 percent of Americans suffered from mental illness.

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, warns that Europe is not spending enough to deal with this huge crisis in health care.

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

The four most common conditions were depression, dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, alcohol dependence and stroke. A study in 2005 was closer to the U.S. finding: showing 27 percent of the EU adult population was suffering from mental illnesses.

Source: Yahoo

27 thoughts on “Study Estimates Roughly 40 Percent of Europeans Suffer From Mental Illness

  1. This is one of those studies I’d like to know more about the details than news stories provide.
    If (short-term) anxiety and insomnia are considered mental illness then I am surprised the numbers are so low. Even depression can affect some people for short bouts. But, unless it impacts their life in some way I don’t think I would classify them as mental illness. I think everyone has had some moments of anxiety or insomnia but if it passes quickly it is not the same as if you live with it for long periods of time.

  2. The U.S. study was among young adults aged 18 to 25. The EU study seems to include older people since Alzheimer’s disease is included.

  3. Frankly,

    Good attitude, don’t blindly trust any official report without first checking it out with a good grain of salt.

    This modern day and age is not all it is cracked up to be.

    There are more human slaves today than at any other time in human history.

    Which makes one wonder how the foreign policy of “the home of the free and the brave” has failed more so than at any other time in human history.

    Got war?

  4. I’d like to know more about how a study that covered 514 million people was conducted.

    Here’s a link to the report–in case anyone is interested in reading it:
    http://www.ecnp.eu/en/publications/reports/~/media/Files/ecnp/communication/reports/ECNP%20EBC%20Report.ashx

    *****

    “The four most common conditions were depression, dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, alcohol dependence and stroke.”

    One could deduce that many people in Europe have Alzheimer’s and dementia because people are living longer due to better health care.

  5. “One could deduce that many people in Europe have Alzheimer’s and dementia because people are living longer due to better health care.”

    One could assume that. But I dont think they get any better health care in Europe than we do here. Most of the increase in longevity can be accounted for in better nutrition, sanitation and the subsequent disease control. Thank farmers and civil engineers for that.

    It might be better to nationalize the farmers and engineers.

  6. Roco,
    they do get better health care in Europe than here in the states.
    The numbers are so big because they are including the dementia and alcohol patients and stroke victims. I am confused how strokes and dementia can be considered mental illnesses.

  7. But I dont think they get any better health care in Europe than we do here. ~Roco
    —————————————————————–
    I would snarkily respond by saying…’It’s better because they are getting it.”

    but I won’t be snarky today, I’ll just say….European healthcare is better because they are getting it.

    NAMI defines mental illness as : What is Mental Illness: Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.
    by that definition strokes and dementia do fit the criteria and I think it’s a good definition. That said, it also explains the very high numbers expressed by the study. If you look at the source of the illness as part of the statistical reference I’m sure you would get a better picture.

    Of note is the pathetically poor standard of what constitutes an accepted definition throughout the medical and legal field. It leaves people incredibly vulnerable to abuse.

    from ; http://www.sntp.net/references/dsm_definition.htm

    “Only in psychiatry is the existence of physical disease determined by APA presidential proclamations, by committee decisions, and even, by a vote of the members of APA, not to mention the courts”. – Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry

  8. Roco is correct that the broad field of “public health” is more responsible for extending life expectancy in developed-world nations than “interventional” health care. But he’s unclear on the fact that “better nutrition, sanitation and the subsequent disease control” IS ALREADY a function of government. From the Army Corps of Engineers to building codes to the EPA and the USDA, to the rest of the alphabet soup of government organizations, it’s the government that sets the standards and requires that various public health initiatives be implemented. We can point to endless examples of how the “magic marketplace” or “self-regulation” by industries fails without government oversight and regulation.

    So, higher rates of “mental illness” (under some broad definition) could be a function of a more elderly population. Is there evidence that Europe actually has on older population than the US? Why, yes, it does!
    http://www.who.int/whr/2000/media_centre/en/whr00_maps_en.pdf

    While most of Western Europe is in the top tier of life expectancy, the US is in the second tier, so it appears that people in (western) Europe generally live longer than in the US.

    But it doesn’t tell us who has a better health care system – that’s a much much more complicated question. (One interesting aside in those WHO maps: the US and Germany are both in the second tier for life expectancy and in the top tier for percent of GDP spent on healthcare. While Canada and the UK are both in the top tier for life expectancy and Canada is in the third tier for %/GDP and the UK is in the fifth tier.)

    The bottom line is that while we (well, we rich Americans) have access to all sorts of drugs and gadgets and specialists, we’re getting really lousy value for our healthcare dollar under our current minimally-regulated, market-driven system.

  9. Well said Tomdarch! We are not getting our bang for the buck because of big insurance who are in it to make a profit, notwithstanding who dies in the process.

  10. I’ll stack our crazy up against any crazy anywhere in the world. Level the playing field by using the same list of symptoms and recognized illness’, test the same demographic and I bet we rank right up there at the top- add in delusion-based violence (killing for Christ- or Dog and sociopathy-based behaviors e.g.: Wall Street and bankers) and we’ll give any country a run for top slot. USA! USA! USA! :-)

  11. Good grief, I have spent the day reading the americans with disabilities act as it relates to mental illness. Specifically Bi-polar disorder. My daughter is bipolar and getting a rough time from her manager (She works for a coffee shop that is so very well known) My daughter has been reluctant to complaine because of fear of retaliation. And tho she now has made a complaint she has been reluctant to tell the corporate investigators about her illness ( her manager knows she is bipolar and recently gave her a bad review and denied any raise one complaint was that she was too excitable) She is mocked and was refered to a customer as a psycho freak by a supervisor. It dawned on me today for the first time that the disability act may be of some help to my daughter as her manager is trying to document write ups that are designed to get Kelly fired . Any thoughts?

  12. lottakatz,
    :-) … Yep, plenty of mentally ill right here in America…, including the sociopaths…

    (“The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout is a must-read…)

  13. Roco,

    Sorry not to respond sooner. I was away from the computer most of the afternoon.

    *****

    “One could assume that. But I dont think they get any better health care in Europe than we do here.”

    I wasn’t making a comparison. People live longer in this country today too–as compared to several decades ago. In countries where people have a lower life expectancy, one will probably find fewer people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and people who are stroke victims.

  14. “The U.S. study found roughly 30 percent of Americans suffered from mental illness.”

    Present company excepted, that could be inferred by reading the exchanges between forum posters.

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    I’m a schizophrenic,
    And so am I.

  15. I don’t have much faith in either the European or American studies. Woosty’s link was right on target. The DSM IV is a political, rather than scientific document and the definitions of what is referred to as “mental illness” are far to fluid and too broad.

  16. I read that in two years there will be no more Asperger’s patients. They won’t be cured. Their diagnosis will just be dropped.

    Some years ago, Social Security stopped paying “alcoholics,” because it relabeled “alcoholism” as “addictive personality.”

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