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No. of seniors suffering mental disorders rising rapidly: data

Welfare/Medicine 10:55 October 02, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The number of elderly South Koreans with mental health issues has risen sharply in recent years as the country scrambles to provide better health care for its citizens, a report showed Wednesday.

In a report to the National Assembly, the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) said that in the 2010-2018 period, the number of people over 80 afflicted with major depression surged 176.5 percent, with the figure for those in their 70s increasing 59.4 percent.

As of last year, roughly 40 percent of the 684,000 people medically diagnosed with severe depression were over 60, with the recurrence rate for such disorders hitting 50 percent for seniors, much higher than those in middle age, the report showed.

The office said there was a sharp rise in the number of elderly people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, eating issues, obsessive-compulsive problems, severe stress adjustment difficulties and insomnia. Younger people had more problems than seniors only in the area of phobic anxiety disorders.

Asia's fourth-largest economy became an aged society -- one in which 14 percent of the population is over 65 -- in 2017, and is expected to become a super-aged society with 20 percent of the country over 65 around 2026.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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