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Wednesday 18.01.2017 | Name days: Antis, Antons
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Research: 70,000 people in Latvia are in dire need of depression treatment

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEvery fourth patient visiting family physicians has faced depression at some point in their life. Every tenth patient is currently in dire need of depression treatment in Latvia, as concluded in results of a research carried out by the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction of Riga Stradins University Hospital on depression and its scale in the country.

Experts say there are currently 70,000 patients in Latvia who are in dire need of depression treatment. According to information from Disease and Prevention Centre, less than 9,000 patients have been cured of depression since 2013. The number of patients diagnosed with depression and other depressive disorders increase year after year around the world. Patients who do not receive timely treatment of depression often end their lives with suicide.

Prof. Elmars Rancans, head of research, notes that the situation with depression in Latvia is dramatic. «Without a doubt, one of the main obstacles to treating depression lies in people’s prejudice toward mental illnesses and visiting psychiatrists. Family physicians can play a major role in treating depression – patients turn to them much more often,» – said Rancans.

As part of the research, more than 1,500 regular patients of family physicians were interviewed all around Latvia. This is the most large-scale piece of research in Latvia’s history to ever touch this subject. Researchers explained whish depressive disorders, including depression itself, most often impact the lives of Latvian patients and how these problems are dealt with. Results show that 28.1% of patients of family physicians have had depression at some point in their lives and 10.2% currently suffer from depression. Depression is found most often in patients who are 55 or older.

Researchers continue working on analyzing acquired data. Psychiatrists say it is vital to improve treatment accessibility and the number of patients who begin depression treatment early, as prolonged exposure can lead to all kinds of long-term health problems.

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  1. Andris Banders says:

    Most certainly early detection and intervention is essential. However, of the 70,000 cited in the study many will be in the quadrant of high prevalence and lower impact. Therefore not all will be requiring psychiatric type treatment. Based on the article above, what is glaringly missing is data on how the 70.000 who need intervention are addressing their conditions themselves. In particular, the study makes no reference to the relationship between depression ( and a total omission of anxiety by the way ) and self medication through alcohol and narcotics – either illegal or prescribed. In other words there is no apparent attention given to dual diagnosis between a mental health and and addiction. This study/article implies these are some how separate worlds, when our data in the West shows the correlation can be up to 50-70% and in regional areas of high economic disadvantage, presentation can be as high as 85%, especially when there is a local economic downturn.

    I am not meaning to be blunt, but you can keep analyzing your data with a depression focus but the effect is that you will be building silos which are very difficult to pull down when the problem becomes more and more difficult to solve. You have high quality addiction services in Lv, although continuously being strangled by budget, and from my point of view the mental health sector in Lv seems to be living in its own world and not striking an effective and equitable relationship or collaboration. with addiction services.

    Meanwhile your long term health budget crisis, projected, will get get much much worse in the medium to long term unless authorities start to get a better grip on the health economics of dual diagnosis. Is it hat hard to reach out for discussion?

    Furthermore there is no reference to where this 70.000 cohort lives. Given the tendency to be Riga Centrist it is plausible to suggest much of regional Latvija will not get a look in which is a shame, and a long term health budget burden. Many of these case could be picked up by a better developed NGO services strategy which has proven effective in other countries. Especially though a social services contact and engagement strategy supported by a screening, assessment and referral capacity and capability. ONce again this has been done cost effectively in other countries.

    So much to talk about – outside a research realm. All the best.

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