Every tenth German develops a depression that necessitates treatment at least once a lifetime. According to estimates of the WHO (World Health Organisation), 120 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
Depression increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and dementia. Depression is a potentially fatal disease: the estimated number of reported and unreported cases is of more than 15,000 people in Germany committing suicide each year.
According to a forecast of the WHO from 2030 onwards, depression will not only be the most common disease in industrial nations but also the illness that will affect the health system the most.
After depression, anxiety disorders are the second most common cause for mental disorders. About 7 million people in Germany suffer from anxiety, women being affected twice as often as men. Similar to depression, the cause of anxiety is believed to be related to an imbalance of the natural anxiety-stress mechanism. Phobia or generalized anxiety symptoms are often observed and can lead to a chronic disease state.
The insurance company Allianz together with the Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitut RWI has calculated the costs caused by depression each year. Hence, depression-caused costs per year add up to an amount between 15.5 and 21.9 bn. Euro – which equates to up to 0.88 per cent of the German GDP.