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Schizophrenia and its co-morbidities: A financial burden on the healthcare system

Authors: Christina Agius, Fiorella Borg,
  • Institute: Institute of Community Services
  • Symposium: Social Well-being, Sports and Health
  • Day: 1 , Session: 1 , Location: Conference Hall 2
  • Session Type: Short 10 min (Early stage research) , Start: 10:10 , End: 10:30

Abstract

Mental health problems affect about 84 million people across the EU. This is more than one in every six citizens (The European Commission, 2019). The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 20 million people suffer from schizophrenia world-wide.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which the service user experiences disruptions to his/her thought processes, to the way he/she perceives the world around him/her, to his/her emotional responsiveness, and to any social interactions that he/she has (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018).

Whilst schizophrenia is not as common as other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, nonetheless by far this condition is the most expensive to treat. Financial costs associated with the condition are high when compared to the condition itself (and its health care requirements) and any co-morbidities, especially when factoring in lower productivity and other needs beyond basic health care (such as social care) (Desai, et al., 2013). Considering the high probability of one or more relapses or problems due to substance abuse following initial diagnosis, the cost of healthcare for this condition continues to rise (Grech & Micallef Trigona, 2020).

Considering a more holistic approach, and therefore looking into ameliorating the lifestyle of these patients could alleviate the financial burden of treating the negative symptoms and the unhealthy habits that come with it.