Italians renounce medical treatments as recession bites

Use of antidepressants and suicides on the rise

Italians renounce medical treatments as recession bites

Rome, April 19 - Nine million Italians have stopped treating small or minor medical conditions as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, OsservaSalute said Friday. The annual report by the health observatory said almost two million elderly people now go without medical treatment including non-reimbursed pharmaceutical drugs. Further, 40% of people over-65 can no longer afford quick private check-ups, "resigning" themselves to long waiting lists on the national health service, the report said. Also, families are increasingly renouncing dental treatment for their children. The use of antidepressants has risen from 8.18 daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants in 2000 to 35.72 in 2010 and the number of suicides has also risen in keeping with the trend across Europe, the study said. The recession has also had a negative impact on lifestyle choices, with the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables falling in favour of cheaper high-energy foods, and Italians are also exercising less in order to save money. Moreover last year 10% fewer Italians underwent thermal treatments for medical conditions, compared to a 5% rise in neighbouring France. Dentists have also seen a 30% drop in turnover in the last two years as Italians look to low-cost packages available on the internet or even go abroad in an attempt to cut treatment costs.

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