Mental disorders double in Taiwan

Taipei, Nov 16: A research team has found the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) in Taiwan has doubled over the last two decades, Xinhua reported.

Researchers at Taiwan’s institute of biomedical sciences analysed data from 9,079 respondents, found the prevalence of CMDs rose from 11.5 percent in 1990 to 23.8 percent in 2010, according to a press release issued by Taiwan’s “Academia Sinica”.

It said the common mental disorders are a broad diagnostic category of non−psychotic depressive and anxiety disorders that account for over 90 percent of all mental disorders.

Being female, unemployed or underemployed, unmarried and under−educated present increased risk factors for developing CMDs. It has also been proposed that economic instability and income inequality may increase the risk for mental disorders, the release added.

The study, published online earlier this week in the world’s leading general medical journal −− The Lancet −− found that the increased prevalence of CMDs coincided with rises in unemployment, divorce and suicide rates in Taiwan over the same study period.

The study suggests that the significant trend in the increase in rates of CMDs may be at least partly due to macro−social changes, including the continued decline in the employment market and the ongoing global economic recession.

Andrew Tai−Ann Cheng, the study leader, said the research not only highlighted the need to implement effective clinical and social preventative measures to promote mental health, but also the effects of uncertainty on mental health.

A sense of insecurity, much like that seen in response to losing a job, can negatively impact mental health, he added.

IANS