Author(s): Schmitz N, Kruse J
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Frequent use of health services has been associated with mental disorders and psychological distress. The present study aimed to determine how mental disorders affect the likelihood of using health services in a nationally representative sample. METHOD: The analysis was based on data on 3726 respondents aged 18-65 years from the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey, a nationally representative multistage probability survey conducted from 1997 to 1999. Health care utilization in the previous year was measured by a self-report questionnaire. Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed by a modified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. RESULTS: The relationship between mental illness and medical service utilization was substantial and significant. Twelve-month prevalence rates for respondents with normal health service use were 10.2 \% (affective disorders), 11.9 \% (anxiety disorders), 8.9 \% (somatoform disorders), and 15.4 \% (substance use disorder). In contrast, 12-month prevalence rates for high utilizers were 25.1 \% (affective disorders), 29.3 \% (anxiety disorders), 22.2 \% (somatoform disorders), and 17.1 \% (substance use disorder). CONCLUSIONS: High utilizers of health care service should be assessed for common mental disorders. Efforts should be made to increase awareness, recognition, and appropriate early intervention of mental disorders.
This article was published in Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy