Survey: 25% Of Egyptians Suffer From Mental Health Issues

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Twenty-five percent of the Egyptian population are afflicted with disorders and conditions related to mental health. This was discovered from the findings of a study conducted throughout the nation by the Ministry of Health.

A large amount of those afflicted with mental disorders was also diagnosed with anxiety and depression disorders. An estimated 43.7 percent of people were reported to have anxiety disorders, and in turn, 30.1 percent were suffering from depression, which was mostly caused by substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol.

The Ministry of Health held a press conference to make the results of their study publicly known—these findings were applied to approximately 22,000 families all over the country. Mona Abdel Maskoud, the director of the General Secretariat of Mental Health, declared that Minya contained the most significant percentage of individuals who have been clinically diagnosed with anxiety.

Abdel Maskoud also noted that rural governorates tended to exhibit higher rates of depression and anxiety. The Ministry of Health ensures a standard quality when creating reliable and efficient tactics as responses to mental health disorders. They also guarantee to spread awareness of these conditions to the general society; they recognize the significance of these issues, which entails them in banishing the stigma that surrounds them. In light of this, their organization is in the process of developing more easily accessible clinics specializing in mental health in the country.

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An individual with an abundant family history of recurring mental illnesses dramatically increases the likelihood of them developing some form of mental disorders, as is evidenced by the study. They recommended a variety of physical activities, such as sports, to partake in daily, to try to prevent any mental illnesses from developing, or from worsening.

According to a research study from 2009, approximately 0.857% of the mentally ill in the entire world are people that were living with depression in Egypt. Though this number does not sound like much, it takes up 1.2 million of the people who have been clinically diagnosed with depression in the country. According to their observances, the number of individuals that were depressed tended to increase in proportion to the countryside, rather than in the urban areas.

Abdel-Azim, who teaches psychiatry at Cairo University, declared depression to be the
“next danger,” and according to an estimation by the World Health Organisation {WHO), depression is the second most common disease in the world that causes disability and affects people’s ability to do their jobs properly. The WHO predicted that by the year 2020, depression would have become the number one cause for debilitation and, potentially, premature death, all across the globe.

Professor Azim also maintained that “depression is an organic disease that results from the interaction of genetic conditions and the pressure surrounding the person,” which emphasized how the disorder largely impacted countries’ development and economies. One notable example would be the United States, a country that is reported to have spent over 90 billion each year solely on illnesses like depression.

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Drug addiction and environmental pollution were singled out as major reasons for a mental illness becoming exacerbated throughout the population. Azim has even put forward his belief that marijuana was the main culprit for depression and other mental issues, citing his discoveries from studies he had recently conducted.

According to Azim, there exists more or less 38 drugs that can be prescribed to treat depression. However, he also pointed out that unfortunately, “the biggest problem is that 30 percent of the depressed people  in the whole world resort to suicide for the reason that they did not submit into taking prescription drugs, this is because they believe they are not entitled to such treatment.” A disease, even if one that is based on one’s mental state, simply cannot be cured or treated if the proper medication is failed to be administered. This is another factor that is an important cause for concern that should be properly addressed as well.

Furthermore, another professor of Psychiatry at Cairo University, Mustafa Shahin, revealed that “there is a lack of precision in the statistics of depressed patients in Egypt.” Apparently, the rates of depression measured worldwide were equivalent to a range between 8 and 9 percent of the total population”, which indicates 6 to 7 million patients with depression in the country.”

Shahin explained that depression wasn’t as single as to come in just one single form or type. There have been recorded examples of depression attributing to physical disorders and heart disease. People suffering from the illness could even lose their ability to communicate, as it greatly influences their functionality. He added that the disease becomes a large burden on the families of the affected because treatments usually require extensive budgets.