Mental illnesses are increasing again significantly



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Mental illnesses are increasing again significantly: More and more Germans suffer from mental disorders

Mental illnesses have increased dramatically across Germany in the past year. The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) reports that the sick leave of its insured persons rose by 14 percent in 2010 due to mental illness.

Mental illnesses such as depression, burn out, anxiety disorders, other psychosomatic illnesses or addictions increased significantly in Germany in 2010. According to reports by the TK, sickness absenteeism last year averaged 12.3 days per employee overall, which corresponds to a sick leave rate of 3.36 percent. On average, two days of absence per employee were due to illnesses in the psyche, according to the TK. "Absenteeism due to psychological diagnoses increased by almost 14 percent within a year," emphasized Gudrun Ahlers, responsible for health reporting at TK

Respiratory diseases declining, mental disorders increasingly frequent The analysis of sick reports by the TK showed that "the employees (...) were sick less in 2010", explained Gudrun Ahlers. "We have around 2.4 percent fewer sick leave for 2010 than in 2009," said the expert. A clear decline was observed, especially in respiratory diseases. According to the TK, the sickness among the 3.5 million employees and unemployment benefit I recipients insured with TK stagnated at 3.36 percent last year almost at the previous year's level (2009: 3.32 percent) attributable to the increase in sick leave with diagnoses of a mental disorder. Because the duration of sick leave here is far longer than, for example, with most respiratory diseases. If the insured are on sick leave for several days because of bronchitis, it can easily be weeks or months with mental illness. The declining number of sick leave is offset by an increased duration of sick leave.

Pressure to perform and stress Cause of mental suffering In addition, the TK noted in its health report that the number of days lost due to illness differed widely in the individual federal states. According to the TK, the fewest absences due to sick leave were recorded in Baden-Württemberg with an average of 9.9 days, whereas in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the highest absences were recorded with 15.5 days. However, sick leave due to psychological disorders has risen again significantly in all federal states. The TK, the BKK and the AOK scientific institute already confirmed this trend in separate studies last year. The health insurance experts attribute the increase in mental disorders that has been observed for years to the extreme pressure to perform, the increased competition on the job market and the permanent stress to which many employees are exposed. Those affected are also more willing today to be treated for mental suffering, which has also increased the number of sick days, according to information from the Federal Association of Psychotherapists last year.

Mental illness causes loss of production in the billions. Another dimension of the effects of mental suffering can be seen in the response of the Federal Ministry of Health to a request from the Green parliamentary group last year. According to the Federal Ministry of Health last year, referring to statistics from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the costs of the loss of production due to mental illnesses amount to almost four billion euros annually, and the loss of gross value added in Germany is almost seven billion euros. In addition, there are considerable costs for the treatment of those affected, which are placing an ever increasing burden on the health system. Experts estimate that up to 30 percent of Germans suffer from mental illnesses today, although a significant increase can still be expected in the future. Nineteen professors and clinic heads from the fields of psychology and psychosomatics had examined the spread of mental illnesses in Germany last year and thereby confirmed the frightening trend.

Increase in mental illness - stress test for the health system Joachim Galuska, medical director of the psychosomatic clinics in Bad Kissingen, Thomas Loew, university professor for psychosomatic medicine in Regensburg and Johannes Vogler, chief physician of the Isny-Neutrauchburg clinic, initiated a warning last year with the help of the magazine "Focus", to point out the social consequences of the enormously increased prevalence of mental suffering. In the future, for example, treatment problems will be foreseeable due to the significantly increased number of mental disorders, the experts explained. In addition, due to the large number of diagnoses, adequate therapy for patients will no longer be possible in the future. Because even if large additional sums of money were made available for financing, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists would have to treat three to five times more patients than they can, warned Galuska, Loew and Vogler. In order to avoid the occurrence of a mental disorder, the experts primarily recommend avoiding stress and relaxation, for example with the help of relaxation exercises or autogenic training. In addition, a healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, exercise and good nutrition is recommended. Anyone who nevertheless recognizes the first signs of a mental disorder should not hesitate and seek support from an expert at an early stage in order to adequately counter the mental suffering. (fp)

Also read:
Increase in mental illness among adolescents
Absenteeism: Increase in mental illness
Depression exacerbate physical pain?
Every third person suffers from mental disorders

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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