Pandemic Caused 53 Million Cases Of Depression In 2020

Cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increased by more than a quarter worldwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic , according to the first global estimates of the impact of the pandemic on mental health, published in the magazine ‘The Lancet’ .

Specifically, the data suggests that the pandemic caused an additional 53 million cases of major depressive disorder and 76 million cases of anxiety disorders .

In 2020 , cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increased 28% and 26% , respectively. Women were more affected than men, and young people more than older age groups. The countries with high infection rates COVID-19 and significant reductions in the circulation of persons , as a result of measures such as closing schools – recorded the largest increases in the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic , major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders – which can increase the risk of other health consequences, such as suicide – contributed heavily to the global burden of disease , affecting millions. of men and women of all ages around the world.

Dr Damian Santomauro , from the Queensland Center for Mental Health Research at the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland (Australia) , emphasizes that these findings “highlight the urgent need to strengthen mental health systems to make Facing the Growing Burden of Severe Depressive and Anxiety Disorders Worldwide “.

Depression remains a great unknown.
“Promoting mental well-being, targeting the factors that contribute to poor mental health that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and improving the treatment of those who develop a mental disorder should be central elements in efforts to improve mental health. support services, “he adds.

Before the pandemic , mental health care systems in most countries have historically been underutilized and disorganized in the provision of services. Meeting the added demand for mental health services due to COVID-19 will be challenging, but no action should not be an option. “

A study in 204 countries
This is the first study to assess the global impact of the pandemic on major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, quantifying the prevalence and burden of disorders by age, sex, and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.

A systematic literature review was conducted to identify data from population surveys published between January 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021. Eligible studies reported the prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorders that were representative of the general population and had a pre-pandemic baseline.

Using a disease modeling meta-analysis tool, data from eligible studies were used to estimate changes in the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders due to COVID-19 based on age, sex, and gender. location, even where there were no eligible studies.

The systematic review identified 5,683 unique data sources , of which 48 met the inclusion criteria. Most of the studies came from mostly Western Europe and North America , with others from Australasia , high-income Asia Pacific , or East Asia .

The meta-analysis indicates that the increase in the rate of COVID-19 infection and the reduction in the movement of people were associated with the increase in the prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, suggesting that the most affected countries due to the pandemic in 2020 had the largest increases in the prevalence of the disorders .

In the absence of the pandemic, model estimates suggest that there would have been 193 million cases of major depressive disorder (2,471 cases per 100,000 population) globally in 2020. However, the analysis shows that there were 246 million cases (3,153 per 100,000), a 28% increase (53 million additional cases). More than 35 million of the additional cases were in women , compared to about 18 million in men .

An estimated 298 million cases of anxiety disorder would have occurred had the pandemic not occurred
Estimates from the model suggest that there would have been 298 million cases of anxiety disorders (3,825 per 100,000 population) worldwide in 2020 had the pandemic not occurred . The analysis indicates that, in fact, it is estimated that there will be 374 million cases (4,802 per 100,000) in 2020, which is an increase of 26% .

Young people, the most affected
Young people were more affected by major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders in 2020 than older age groups. The additional prevalence of these disorders peaked among people aged 20-24 (1,118 additional cases of major depressive disorder per 100,000 and 1,331 additional cases of anxiety disorders per 100,000).

Co- author Alize Ferrari, head of the mental disorders team at the Queensland Mental Health Research Center, explains that “the pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and social determinants of mental health. Unfortunately, for many reasons, women have always were more likely to be affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic . “

It adds that “the closure of schools and the broader restrictions that limit young people’s ability to learn and interact with their peers, along with the increased risk of unemployment , also meant that young people were more impacted by major depressive disorder and depression. anxiety disorders during the pandemic. It is crucial that policy makers take into account underlying factors such as these as part of measures to strengthen mental health services, “he warns.

Dr. Maxime Taquet and Professor Paul Harrison, from the University of Oxford , in the United Kingdom, and Professor Emily Holmes, from the University of Uppsala and the Karolinska Institute , in Sweden, who were not involved in the study, note in a comment linked that “the first global view of the burden of depressive and anxiety disorders during the pandemic, carried out by Santomauro and his colleagues, highlights the impact of the pandemic on mental health worldwide.”

Both researchers call for measures to strengthen mental health systems. “Therefore, the study should urgently encourage further research to determine the fuller geographic distribution of depression and anxiety , the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders, and the underlying mechanisms for improving mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic globally “, they conclude.