Brain disorder most expensive illness in Switzerland

By Xinhua

Geneva : Brain disorders are among the most expensive illnesses in Switzerland, accounting for an estimated one sixth of healthcare costs annually, according to a study released on Monday.

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An estimated one fifth of the Swiss population is thought to be affected by a mental illness of some kind, and the country’s bill for brain disorders is 15 billion Swiss francs (about 13.7 billion U.S. dollars) a year, said the report released by Zurich University.

Wulf Rossler, one of the authors and professor of clinical social psychiatry at Zurich University Psychiatric Hospital, said mental disorders were among the most burdensome of all disease groups in Switzerland.

“As such it is not surprising that so much money is spent on disorders of the brain in our society,” Rossler told the Swissinfo website.

According to the report, the most common psychiatric illnesses in Switzerland are anxiety disorders with 710,000 cases. Migraine leads in terms of neurological illnesses at 630,000 cases.

But depression and bipolar disorder — formally known as manic depression — are the most expensive psychiatric conditions, taking a 30 percent share of the overall neuropsychiatric expenses.

Rossler said this was because depression was such a common illness among the population, which is estimated at about 7.4 million.

The report nevertheless warned that the total costs related to mental disorders could be even higher.

“We estimate that about half of patients with mental disorders are not treated and as the number of people who get treated increases, the expense will rise as well,” Rossler explained.