Germans more depressed than ever: DAK report

19th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 April 2005, BERLIN - Psychiatric disorders including depression are at record levels in Germany, according to a new report by the health insurance firm DAK.

19 April 2005

BERLIN - Psychiatric disorders including depression are at record levels in Germany, according to a new report by the health insurance firm DAK.

Although the overall number of people taking sick leave decreased from 3.5 percent of the workforce in 2003 to 3.2 percent in 2004, the number of cases of psychological disorders grew by 70 percent between 1997 and 2004. Almost ten percent of sick leave days were due to psychological disorders, with depression and panic attacks being the most common mental health disorders.

Other health insurance firms confirmed the DAK's analysis, saying that mental health problems had indeed increased.

As part of their analysis, the DAK surveyed 1000 working people in February 2005 about their attitudes to mental health. One in seven of those surveyed said they were currently being treated, or had in the past been treated, for psychological problems. Around 70 percent said they would be willing to consult a doctor or therapist about psychological problems.

Although 82 percent believed that psychological disorders are better accepted today than in the past, 30 percent felt that bosses show little understanding when an employee takes sick leave because of psychological problems.

More than half of those surveyed (56 percent) would find it more awkward with their employer to take sick leave because of psychological problems than because of other illnesses. 26 percent believed that psychological problems are often used as an excuse for laziness.

The DAK also surveyed 22 mental health professionals about the increase in psychological disorders, with most agreeing that there were in fact more cases today than in the past. However the experts surveyed emphasised that psychological problems are nowadays more often recognised and correctly diagnosed by GPs than in the past.

Similarly, the experts believed that patients are now more likely to consult a doctor or psychologist about mental health problems than in the past.

The report shows that young women between 15 and 29 and young men between 15 and 34 were particularly prone to mental illness. In some young age groups the number of cases of mental health problems more than doubled between 1997 and 2004.

DAK chief executive Herbert Rebscher believes the rise in mental health problems are related to economic difficulties. "Angst-related disorders and depression are becoming more and more endemic. In times of economic insecurity, more young people are developing psychological problems in response to the demands of professional and personal life".

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: German news

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