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Consensus Statement on the Benefit to the Community of ESEMeD (European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders) Survey Data on Depression and Anxiety

David J. Nutt, MD, PhD; Ronald C. Kessler, PhD; Jordi Alonso, MD, PhD; Alastair Benbow, MB, MRCPI; Yves Lecrubier, MD; Jean-Pierre Lépine, MD; David Mechanic, PhD; and André Tylee, MD

Published: January 15, 2007

Article Abstract

Objective: To provide an overview of the importance of the data generated by the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD), which found that prevalence and burden of mood and anxiety disorders were high and that care of individuals with mental disorders was suboptimal. Thus, ESEMeD data, based on 21,425 noninstitutionalized adults from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain who underwent computer-assisted personal interviews, confirmed previous findings from epidemiologicstudies performed in other locations. In addition, how this large and unique dataset may be utilized for maximum benefit to patients is outlined. Participants: The co-chairmen David J. Nutt, M.D., Ph.D., and Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., invited 6 faculty members to participate: Jordi Alonso, M.D., Ph.D.; Alastair Benbow, M.B., M.R.C.P.I.; Yves Lecrubier, M.D.; Jean-Pierre Lépine, M.D.; David Mechanic, Ph.D.; and André Tylee, M.D. Evidence: The consensus statement is based on the 6 review articles published in this supplement, which include ESEMeD data and data from pertinent scientific literature. Consensus Process: The faculty met over a 2-day period: day 1 included discussion of the review articles, during which the chairmen identified issues for further debate; day 2 included discussion of key issues to arrive at a consensus view. The consensus view was drafted by the chairmen and approved by all attendees. Conclusions: ESEMeD provides a very important opportunity to improve knowledge on the epidemiology of mood and anxiety disorders. Despite a decade of educational initiatives, the diagnosis and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders remain suboptimal. Lack of awareness and stigma surrounding mental illness, variations in physicians’ ability to diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions, and physician time pressures all contribute to the problem. Future education initiatives should include patients, primary care physicians, employers, and health policy influencers. Patients with mood and anxiety disorders may benefit from targeted antidepressant treatment, which should optimize the chance of patients’ receiving appropriate therapy. In addition, depending on the patients’ circumstances, psychotherapy, counseling, or social support may also be initiated.

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