23rd ECNP Congress -The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, addiction and schizophrenia are the core challenge of most health care systems around the world. In the EU alone, each year 27% of the total adult population – this corresponds to 83 Million citizens – suffer from mental disorders. Depression alone affects almost 20 million ranking in the EU as the most disabling disorder of all diseases. Unless appropriately treated, mental disorders are typically associated with a wide range of complications and sequelae for the subjects affected, their partners and families as well as society as a whole, and they can be lethal. Suicide – a frequent complication of depression and other mental disorders – is a major cause of premature death in Europe with over 160.000 completed suicides every year; rates of attempted suicides are at least 10 times higher. Nevertheless – despite the tremendous suffering and burden of mental disorder and the fact that mental disorders are treatable – the majority of persons with mental disorders in the EU remain untreated. The EU over the past three years has recognized with increasing emphasis the urgent need to change this, calling for concerted mental health action on all levels: science and research, improved public health and outreach activities and improved policies in its member states. The 2008 ‘European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being’ reflects the EU’s strong commitment for this mission, highlighting that mental health and wellbeing in the population is a key resource for the success of the EU as a knowledgebased society and economy. Confronting the high and increasing prevalence of mental disorders and their currently deficient care in many areas, health care systems and schemes are encouraged to act, striving for improved early recognition and diagnosis and ensuring the provision of adequate and state of the art treatment and comprehensive rehabilitation programmes for all. Mental disorders are “complex disorders of the brain”, bound to the way we perceive, think, feel and behave. Understanding such brain dysfunctions in mental disorders is of core relevance for their prevention and their treatment. The interdisciplinary field of neuropsychopharmacology links the core disciplines of neuroscience, psychology and pharmacology and is devoted to this aim. It covers basic and clinical neuroscience from the molecule to system approaches over the establishment of improved diagnostic and treatment standards to fostering their implementation in the health care system for patients with neurological and mental disorders.

The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) is Europe’s largest and most comprehensive interdisciplinary forum in this field, dedicated to translating new knowledge on fundamental disease mechanisms into clinical practice, paving the way for improved pharmacological and non drug treatments for the prevention and treatment of all mental disorders and disorders of the brain in general. This year the cogress boasted well over 7,000 delegates, and the meeting itself was busy at all times. There were 150 speakers from 20 countries, and in more than 35 sessions experts gave insights into the latest achievements and breakthroughs in brain research and neuropsychopharmacology in both preclinical and clinical settings, and discussed the various aspects of pharmacotherapy for patients with mental disorders and their impact on quality of life.

Cambridge University Press publish extensively in Mental Health, and recomend the following highlight books that were on display at ECNP this year:

           

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