Brain doping in Hessen: Around 56,000 employees dope for the job

Brain doping in Hessen: Around 56,000 employees dope for the job

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DAK Health Report: Significant increase in brain doping among employed people
According to the DAK Gesundheit, "three million employees take performance-enhancing or mood-enhancing medication." According to the results of the DAK Health Report 2015, doping at work has increased dramatically in the past six years, with "above all employees with simple jobs or insecure jobs among the risk groups for drug abuse ”. In Hesse alone, according to the DAK, 56,000 employees regularly use prescription medication to be more efficient at work or to reduce stress. For Michael Hübner, head of the DAK-Gesundheit Hessen, the numbers are an "alarm signal".

In view of the high demands in the world of work, many working people regularly reach the limits of their performance, although in our modern service society it is not so much physical performance but rather mental performance that is decisive, reports the DAK regional director. "Quickly grasping new things, working with high concentration, expressing positive feelings towards strangers - some people would like a miracle cure so that the job is easier to do," Hübner continues. So-called brain doping with the help of prescription drugs is correspondingly widespread. According to the experts, its addiction risks and side effects should not be underestimated.

Hundreds of thousands with doping experience on the job
A total of 289,300 working DAK members in Hesse were evaluated by the IGES Institute for the study. In addition, the drug data of the health insurance company were analyzed and more than 5,000 employees aged between 20 and 50 were surveyed nationwide, reports the DAK. The analysis had shown that 6.9 percent of the working population in Hesse and the neighboring federal states had doped before. In addition, there is a considerable number of unreported cases, so that up to 12.3 percent of the employees may actually have already used brain doping. Extrapolated for Hessen, this would mean that up to 408,000 people have already taken performance-enhancing or mood-enhancing medication. According to the DAK, around 56,000 people in Hesse regularly use brain doping. "Even if doping is not yet a mass phenomenon at work, these results are an alarm signal," warns Michael Hübner.

Pressure to perform and stress as the cause of brain doping
According to Hübner, “brain doping is now over Joe Bloggs arrived "and" the cliché of doping top managers is off the table. "Contrary to popular belief, it is not primarily executives or creative people who try to push themselves to the max with medication, reports the DAK. Instead, those in employment with simple jobs are particularly at risk. Employees with an insecure job would also have an increased risk of doping. Triggers for reaching for the pill are usually high performance pressure as well as stress and overload. Men are more likely to use performance-enhancing drugs, women are more likely to take mood-enhancing medication, the health insurance company said.

Significant increase in mental illness
The DAK study also shows the development of absenteeism in mental illnesses. These have increased by 12 percent in the past year, making mental illness the second most common cause of absenteeism, according to the DAK. Since 2000, the DAK report has reported an increase in mental illnesses of 112 percent. Overall, the sickness rate in Hessen in 2014 was 4.1 percent, slightly above the national average of 3.9 percent. In Hessen, one employee was absent from work on average for a total of 15 days. Almost a quarter of these days lost (23 percent) were caused by diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as back pain, reports the DAK. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety were in second place with 15.7 percent of the failures. "In 2014, the sectors with the highest sick leave were the healthcare sector with 4.7 percent and the public administration with 4.5 percent," the health insurance company said. Banks and insurance companies had the lowest sick leave rate at 3.2 percent. (fp)

Proof: Rainer Sturm /

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