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One in six falls victim to those dark moods, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
May 23 2012, 01:48 PM
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Phoebe Man from Standard
Nearly one in six Hongkongers suffers from anxiety and depression, an interim report sponsored by the Food and Health Bureau shows.
Examining the prevalence of mental disorder, the survey aims to poll 5,700 Chinese, aged 16 to 75, of whom 2,500 were interviewed last month.
It is being conducted by the psychiatric departments of the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hospital Authority psychiatric services units
The Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey 2010-2013 found that 362 people, or 14.5 percent, are considered as having "significant levels of neurotic symptoms." Of these, half require treatment.
The survey also showed that 4.2 percent suffer from depression and 6.5 percent have anxiety disorder. Another 2.4 percent have more than one disorder.
Linda Lam Chiu-wa, professor and chairman of the CUHK psychiatry department, said the figures are similar to those for Shanghai and London.
The survey also studied substance abuse, and found that 4 percent of 1,670 people, aged 16-54, have used drugs.
Of the 66 users, nearly half used more than one drug.
Cannabis is the first choice of drug, followed by ketamine.
The percentage of drug abuse is 8 percent in the 25-34 age group. This is higher than in the other age groups, and 62percent were male.
Lam Ming, consultant and deputy chief of service at Castle Peak Hospital general adult psychiatry department, believes the number of drug users is underestimated.
"Our survey was conducted by self-reporting," Lam said.
"There must be some respondents who have not reported their experience honestly."
He also said he did not expect to find more respondents dependent on analgesics than cough medicine.
About 2.7percent reported dependence on analgesics while 0.08percent reported depending on cough medicine and a similar proportion were dependent on sleeping pills.
Lam said based on his clinical experience, more patients are addicted to cough medicine.
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