Cases of depression and anxiety increased an average of 25% in the world in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic according to a study published by the scientific journal The Lancet, the first to evaluate the impact of the coronavirus on Mental health.
The study evaluated the impact of the pandemic on clinical depressive problems and anxiety, divided by age, sex and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020 and resulted in depression increasing by 28% and anxiety by 26% in the period considered.
“This underscores the urgent need to strengthen health systems,” said study lead author Damien Santomauro of the Queensland Mental Health Research Center in Australia.
“Even before the pandemic, mental health systems in most countries were under-resourced and disorganized. Responding to this additional demand (…) will be difficult, but it is impossible to ignore it ”, he added.
women, most affected
The document highlights that women were more affected than men, and the youngest more than the elderly.
“The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the many existing inequalities and social determinants of mental illness. Unfortunately, for many reasons, women were more affected by the social and economic consequences of this pandemic, ”said study co-author Alize Ferrari.
The specialist said that school closings and other important restrictions “limited the ability of young people to learn and interact with their peers, which combined with the increased risk of unemployment had an impact on the mental health of the youngest.”
The results of the study therefore indicate that the countries most affected by the pandemic in 2020 are those that suffered a greater increase in the prevalence of mental problems.
However, the authors acknowledge that their study was limited by the lack of reliable data from significant regions of the world, particularly those comprising low- and middle-income countries.
In Argentina, anxiety was one of the main symptoms suffered as a result of the pandemic, according to a study by the Ipsos consultancy for The World Economic Forum, carried out between February and March.
According to this survey, 46% of Argentines consider that their mental health worsened due to the pandemic.
As it will be recalled, the Observatory of Addictions and Problematic Consumption of the Buenos Aires Ombudsman’s Office prepared a report that was released last week on the evolution of the commercialization of medicines and warned about a sharp increase in the consumption of psychotropic drugs during the pandemic.
Depression increased by 28% and anxiety by 26% in the period considered
The Observatory, headed by the Buenos Aires deputy ombudsman, Walter Martello, said in a statement that “two psychotropic drugs, which are sold under archived prescription, are among the 15 most sold and the growth rate of the number of units dispensed of these remedies are several times higher than the general average ”.
These are Clonazepam and Alprazolam, psychotropics that act on the central nervous system and are used in different psychiatric treatments, the agency reported.
In addition, the report revealed that compared to 2019, during 2020, 187,009 more units of Clonazepam (+ 3.93%) and 286,801 more units of Alprazolam (+ 6.31%) were sold. These percentages are three times and five times, respectively, the general average increase in units dispensed of medicines, registered last year (+ 1.36%).
The data consigned were prepared based on different indicators, among which the surveys published by the Argentine Pharmaceutical Confederation (COFA) stand out, the agency reported.