According to the fifth health survey of the Institute of Public Health (ISP) the number of people in Belgium diagnosed with psychological anxiety, depression and sleep disorders has increased between 2008 and 2013. In 2013, 32% of the population aged 15 and over, which is 6% more than in 2008, experienced psychological problems such as stress, unhappiness or depression. Cases of probable psychopathology increased from 14 to 18%.
Thirty percent of the population has admitted to having sleep disorders, 15% shows signs of a depressive disorder and 10% are experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorders. There is also a high comorbidity of these disorders. The presence of both depressive and anxiety disorders affects 9% of the population and 7% suffer from all three disorders at once.
These disorders are also more common among women and evolve with age, says the ISP. Sleep problems are thus present in 25% of young people but affects 37% of the elderly. Women between the ages of 15 and 24 years old experienced the largest increase in the prevalence of psycho-emotional disorders between 2008 and 2013.
Compared to the last survey, the consumption of anti-depressants has increased by about 2% now making it 9.5% for women and 5.6% for men.
“The increase in discomfort is serious compared to 2008,” worries Dr. Jean Tafforeau of the ISP.
“The situation is getting worse, the trend is moving upwards ” commented Minister of Public Health in current affairs, Laurette Onkelinx, who was however pleased that according to the survey, eight out of ten Belgians are considered to be in good health.