Drug Abuse In Europe
Mental health care is currently viewed as one of the biggest challenges facing modern day Europe. Despite some changes in attitudes to mental health, treatment, and social care fall behind expectations. The industry is struggling to keep up with a growing population of mentally ill patients.
Experts currently believe that as many as 165 million Europeans, 38% of the population, have some form of mental disorder. This could be through drug addiction – illegal or prescribed – workplace stress or other triggers. The four biggest disabling illnesses in Europe right now are dementia, depression, alcohol dependence and stroke. The problem is that only around a third are receiving the help they need.
Mental illness, through drug abuse, social psychiatric issues and other modern day stress, can also have a significant impact on economics. Mental health care provision, counseling services, drug addiction testing and other important measures don’t come cheap.
Furthermore, there is the issue that many European workers find themselves missing work due to their health. This can cost millions in missed working hours and trade. A reluctance to fund the gap means that the burden falls on struggling charities.
The Rise Of Refugee Numbers In Europe Can Only Make This Situation Worse
The current refugee crisis in Africa and the Middle East created a large influx of people into various countries along the continent. There are thousands of people turning to Europe as a beacon of hope and prosperity. This is understandable considering the lives they are fleeing.
Yet, we have to consider the impact that this population gain will have on European services. This is especially true if Europe is already struggling with the mental health needs and drug abuse with its own citizens.
The main issue here is the rate of psychosis in refugees. It is understandable that those that have fled persecution and war are at risk of mental illness. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which involves flashbacks, are not uncommon and need assessment.
There is also the risk that instability and cognitive disorders could lead to issues of psychosis. A study in Sweden has concluded that refugees were 3.6 times more likely to deal with psychosis than those born in the country. It is also important to consider whether alcohol and drug addiction could play a part in the development of psychoses.
This Increased Risk And The Lack Of Treatment Options Means That Refugees Need To Be Better Assessed
Europe is already struggling to deal with the social and economic issues of mental health care. This influx of new patients will not help matters. This new level of mental health problems in Europe shows a need for improved testing, medication and treatment options. This is true for the refugees coming into the country. They need assessment on arrival to determine risk factors. This could perhaps include testing procedures for drug abuse to determine additional risks of drug-induced psychiatric disorders.
It will also help to make the asylum process much less stressful, with better integration into Europe. At the same point, we cannot overlook the fact that Europe, as a whole, needs to reform its attitudes to mental health care.