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13. SEPTEMBER 2017

The number of diagnoses of mental and behavioural disorders increased last year

Despite the decrease in the number of visits to a psychiatrist as well as in the number of patients, more mental and behavioural disorders were diagnosed in 2016 than a year ago.

According to the data collected from psychiatric service providers, there were 99,388 persons consulted for the first time or repeatedly by psychiatrists in 2016, i.e. almost 2% less than in 2015. Since 2013 the number of psychiatrists’ patients has been steadily decreasing.

According to the preliminary data, there were 247,000 outpatient visits to a psychiatrist in Estonia in 2016, i.e. 2.7 visits per case of mental or behavioural disorder on average (2.8 visits per case in 2015). Usually more women than men visit a psychiatrist, but among 0–14 year old patients there are twice as many boys as girls.

91,033 persons were diagnosed with a mental or behavioural disorder, i.e. 3.3% more than in 2015. The rest of persons consulted by a psychiatrist were found to be healthy or were diagnosed with the diseases of the nervous system. 25,732 new cases of mental and behavioural disorders were registered (2.7% more than a year ago). In recent years the number of persons directed to hospital treatment has been decreasing and compared to 2015 there was 5% less hospitalized persons in 2016. The average duration of treatment was 18 days.

The most frequently diagnosed mental and behavioural disorders are neurotic and stress-related disorders, and mood disorders (including depression), which were diagnosed accordingly in 24% and 21% of cases. A third of new cases were diagnosed as neurotic and stress-related disorder: the incidence rates were 5 cases per 1000 men and almost 8 cases per 1000 women. As for women, the second most frequent diagnosis group of new cases was mood (affective) disorder — more than 5 cases per 1000 women. The second frequent diagnosis group for men was mental and behavioural disorder due to psychoactive substance (alcohol, narcotic substances) use, from which almost a fifth of men consulted by a psychiatrist suffered. There were four times more men than women with such a diagnosis with 4 first-time cases per 1000 men registered.

Of the mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use in 2016, 67% were caused by the use of alcohol and 19% by the use of opioids. Half of the cases were related to substance dependence.

At the time of the publication of the 2016 data on mental and behavioural disorders, the data on involuntarily hospitalized persons directed to coercive treatment by court for the period 2011–2015 were corrected due to revisions to the data of health care providers. In the years 2011–2016 there were less than 200 persons in a year directed to coercive treatment by court, at most 194 persons in 2012.

The statistics on mental and behavioural disorders in 2016 has been published in the Health Statistics and Health Research Database of National Institute for Health Development. The data is accessible under the database topics "Morbidity" -> "Mental and behavioural disorders".