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Mental disorders in the Middle East are skyrocketing


The number of mental illnesses is skyrocketing from Morocco to Pakistan. This shows a comparative study of the last 25 years of the University of Washington.

Exploding suicide rate
While the suicide rate increased globally by 19% during this period, it increased by 100-152% in Islamic countries in North Africa, Arabia and South Asia.

Mental disorders
The 15 reports in the International Journal of Public Health also show a significant increase in mental illness. The most common are depression and anxiety disorders, but also bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are rampant.

Irresolvable violence
The head of the study, Dr. Ali Mokdad explains: “Deeply rooted, unsolvable violence creates a lost generation of children and young adults. The future of the Middle East looks bleak if we fail to ensure stability in the region. ”

Too few psychiatrists
The number of qualified specialists to treat these diseases is increasing, but there are still far too few psychiatrists on site.

80 times fewer psychiatrists in Europe
On average, there is one psychiatrist for every 200,000 people in the countries concerned, and 80 in Europe.

Who does the study refer to?
The study covers 600 million people in the 22 countries of Maghreb, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Wars and crises
The people of this region have been exposed to wars, crises and hunger for decades. In 2015 alone, around 208,000 people died here as a result of war, murder and suicide, 144,000 of them directly in the war.

Mental disorders in refugees
A large proportion of the refugees who seek refuge in Europe come from said countries, for example from Syria and Afghanistan. They very often suffer from trauma.

Therapy for traumatized people?
However, this hardly plays a role in the asylum procedure. Asylum seekers are only entitled to medical care for acute illnesses.

Problems of understanding
Doctors who treat those affected often make a wrong diagnosis because there is no interpreter. For example, psychiatric illnesses can usually only be clarified with a precise knowledge of the living conditions. Consequences of a trauma can easily be confused with schizophrenia.

Borderline and PostTraumatic Stress Syndrome
Refugee experiences are a recipe for developing borderline syndrome or developing post-traumatic stress syndrome. Borderline in particular is accompanied by symptoms that also occur with other mood disorders: anxiety disorders, dissociations or compulsive lies.

Studies are pending
Borderline syndrome studies in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and among refugees who come from these countries are pending. This contrasts with countless people who suffer from the most severe mental disorders and do not receive qualified therapy. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

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