Home > Mental health > News 26 July 2013 Mental illness costs 'overwhelming' If more money is not put into research, health systems will be overloaded with the costs of coping with mental illnesses, experts warn. 0 iStock Related 10 ways to get more out of life Mental illness rife among gang members Women respond better to stress Ask CyberShrink » Talk Heart to heart forum » 13 hidden signs of stress Regenerative medicine: replacing brain cells lost from stroke Health systems could be "overwhelmed" by the costs of coping with mental illnesses such as dementia, depression and addiction if nothing is done now to boost investment in research, leading neuroscientists said.Publishing a study that put the estimated costs of brain disorders in Britain alone at more than 112 billion pounds ($172 billion) a year, they said mental illness research needed to attract the same funding levels as illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases to be able to reduce the burden."No group of chronic diseases costs the world more than brain disorders," said Barbara Sahakian, a professor at Cambridge University and president of the British Association of Psychopharmacology.She told reporters that with a third of the adult population suffering from a mental disorder every year and ageing populations increasing that proportion, "if we don't do something soon ... we will be overwhelmed by brain disorders."Millions of cases undiagnosedThe study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that in 2010, there were around 45 million diagnoses of brain disorders in Britain.The diagnosed illnesses included more than 8 million cases of anxiety disorder and nearly 4 million cases of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.Annually, the five most costly disorders in terms of medicines, health care and indirect costs such as time off work and loss of productivity were dementia, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, addiction and anxiety disorders.A Europe-wide study published in 2011 put the total costs of brain disorders at almost 800 billion euros ($1 trillion) and said the region was facing a political, social and financial "ticking bomb" as more people fall prey to mental illnesses. Some big pharmaceutical companies, in Europe particularly GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, have been backing away from investment into research on how the brain works and affects behavior because they say it is not profitable enough. That puts the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said the situation required a coordinated effort at European and national levels to change policymaker and public attitudes to funding mental health research."Diseases need to be ranked according to their economic burden," he said, noting that funding for dementia research in Britain is around 50 million pounds ($77 million) per year, less than one tenth of the annual funding given to cancer research, which gets around 590 million pounds."We have an enormous disparity between research investment and the scale of the disorders," he said. NEXT ON HEALTH24X October is Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa 2016-10-12 16:21 More: Mental healthNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Testicular cancer survivor: 'My testicle doubled in size' Natural Health Why are biologics so expensive? Diet and nutrition It can take months to break bad eating habits Medical Childhood chemo may have lasting effects on memory Medical Back pain patients with depression get more opioids Mental health 'Rogue' genes may be the cause of some ALS cases From our sponsors WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Constipation in women SA's old diesel vehicles continue to fuel allergies Complete our allergy survey and stand a chance to win R 1000! Live healthier Wasting water? » South Africa is facing a water crisis Water saving tips Water quality report shocks SEE: How much water do you use per day? With level 4 water restrictions in Cape Town, residents are urged to use a maximum of 100 litres per person per day. Here’s how quickly it adds up. Life saving tip! » SEE: 10 things to keep in your first aid kit 10 first aid myths Here's why you need a first aid kit in the car Emergency services are often spread thin, especially when storms and major disasters strike. When travelling on the road, having a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver.