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1 in 4 S. Koreans suffer from mental illness: survey

All News 15:44 April 12, 2017

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- One out of every four South Korean adults have experienced an addiction or other form of mental health issue at least one time in their lives, a government survey showed Wednesday,

The survey showed that 25.4 percent of South Koreans are likely to cope with a mental disorder at some point in their lives, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said. The poll was conducted on 5,102 people aged over 18 between July and November of last year.

It is the third time the ministry has conducted such an extensive survey -- using a polling method approved by the World Health Organization -- to measure the lifetime prevalence rate of psychological disorders among South Koreans. Previous surveys took place in 2001 and 2007.

Alcohol addiction rates were found to be especially high in South Korea, affecting 12.1 percent of its population. Noticeably, 18.1 percent of men had the addiction.

More than 9 percent of South Koreans had an anxiety disorder, with 5 percent having a nicotine addiction and 6.2 percent having paranoia and depression. Noticeably, 12 percent of women have an anxiety disorder and 9 percent faced postpartum depression, the survey showed.

The ministry said 9.6 percent of people sought professional help in 2016, up from 7 percent in 2011, while 22.2 percent discussed their problem with physicians in 2016, up from 15.3 percent in 2011.

South Koreans have a tendency to avoid treatment for mental illnesses compared to people in Western countries, either depreciating the need or out of embarrassment, the ministry noted.

khj@yna.co.kr
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