Background: The societal burden caused by anxiety disorders has likely been underestimated, while those for schizophrenia and depression have received more attention. Anxiety disorders represent a significant illness category that occurs at a high prevalence and poses a considerable burden. However, the cost of anxiety disorders in Japan has not yet been well researched. The goal of the present study was to estimate the total cost of anxiety disorders in Japan and to clarify the characteristics of this burden.Method: A prevalence-based approach was adopted to measure the total cost of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders were defined as diagnosis code F40.0-F41.9 according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision. The cost was comprised of the following components: medical treatment costs and social service costs as direct costs, and morbidity and mortality costs as indirect costs. Data were collected from publicly available statistics. Results: The total cost of anxiety disorders in Japan in 2008 was JPY 2.4 trillion (US$ 20.5 billion at the current exchange rate of US$1 = JPY 116.8). The direct cost was JPY 50 billion. The morbidity cost was JPY 2.1 trillion, while the mortality cost was JPY 0.24 trillion. Conclusions: The social burden caused by anxiety disorders in Japan is tremendous and is similar to that of other mental disorders. Productivity loss in the workplace represents the largest portion of all the cost components. Because the medical examination rate is quite low, the improvement of healthcare access might contribute to cost mitigation.
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