Germany: Depression in women, youth above EU average | News | DW | 11.12.2019
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Germany: Depression in women, youth above EU average

A new study found that Germany had the second-highest proportion of people who exhibited depressive symptoms. The authors said more efforts needed to be taken to address prevention and care for younger people.

Nearly one out of every 10 people in Germany exhibited depressive symptoms, according to a Robert Koch Institute study published on Wednesday.

The study found that 9.2% of respondents showed signs of depressive symptoms, which researchers used as an indicator of depression. That figure was higher than the EU average of 6.6%.

"The results for Germany indicate a particularly high prevalence of depressive symptoms," the study said.

Read more: How to look after your mental health

What are the symptoms of depression?

The study referred to symptoms listed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. These include:

  • Diminished interest; 
  • significant weight loss or poor appetite;
  • insomnia or hypersomnia; 
  • fatigue or loss of energy; 
  • feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt;
  • a diminished ability to think or concentrate.
Infographic showing top EU countries with depressive symptoms

'Higher prevalence of women'

In general, women indicated that they had symptoms of depression more often than men, at 10.8% and 7.6% respectively.

"This difference between the sexes is consistent with other international results," the study said. "Beside biological factors, the higher prevalence of women is currently discussed in terms of cumulating psychosocial factors."

Read more: Differences in personality: What psychiatrists can learn from mice to treat depression

Watch video 02:50

The Robert Enke Foundation – raising awareness about depression

Care for younger people

The study also found that depressive symptoms were more frequent among young people when compared to the EU average, at 11.5% compared to 5.2%.

"These results should be discussed against the backdrop of differences in age and social structure and point toward a need for prevention and provision of care targeting younger people in Germany, in particular," the study noted.

Since the early 2000s, prevention and treatment of depression has been a national health target in Germany. More than 250,000 people in Germany participated in the survey.

Read more: Germany: Depression in seniors severely overlooked

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