Mental illnesses are researched in large-scale projects



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Large-scale research projects on mental suffering
19.02.2014

Mental illnesses in Germany cause more and more absenteeism and are now the most common reason for early retirement and the second most common cause of inability to work. The federal government is now making 35 million euros available for a research project on mental illnesses.

Most common reason for early retirement People who suffer from a mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder or alcohol addiction generally have to accept significant losses in their quality of life. In addition, these mental disorders cause enormous costs for the health system. Such ailments are now the most common reason for early retirement in Germany and the second most common cause of inability to work. The "Osnabrücker Neue Zeitung writes that it cannot be overlooked that" the number of employees who retire earlier because of a mental illness has increased by 25,000 in the past ten years. "Almost 15 percent of all sick leave is attributable to mental illness . And the trend is increasing.

35 million euros over the next four years In the summer of this year, the Federal Ministry of Research is therefore launching a new research network on mental illnesses and is making a total of 35 million euros available for this purpose in the following four years. Nine research associations were selected from 46 research proposals. Two of these are coordinated by Dresden scientists.

Early detection and early intervention of manic-depressive illnesses The projects directed by Professor Michael Bauer from the University Hospital of the TU Dresden deal with bipolar disorders, also known as manic-depressive illnesses. These disorders are accompanied by strong mood and activity fluctuations between high (manic) and low (depressed). "These diseases are often not recognized in medical practice," the doctor told the "Sächsische Zeitung". It takes an average of eight years to diagnose, which is a high additional burden for those affected. "We are concerned with improved early detection and early intervention." Among other things, the researchers want to track down the genetic fingerprint of the diseases, identify early warning signs for the frequent relapses and enable more targeted, personalized use of medication. As Bauer emphasizes, the five million euro network of eight partners is the first to investigate bipolar disorders in a major project.

Treatment programs against anxiety attacks In another project, a team led by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the TU Dresden, researches anxiety disorders. The Dresden researchers are developing new treatment programs with which patients can train so-called extinguishing mechanisms against anxiety attacks. Genetic and imaging studies are designed to help scientists better understand the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 40 percent of all people experience mental illness at least once in their lifetime. According to the DAK, there were 208 days absent due to mental illness per 100 insured persons in Saxony. That was around 13 percent more than in the previous year. (ad)

Picture: Rosi v. Dannen / pixelio.de

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