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Lifetime risk and age-of-onset of mental disorders in the Belgian general population

Abstract

Aims

To estimate lifetime risk and age of onset of mental disorders in the adult general population of Belgium.

Method and materials

For the World Mental Health Surveys of the World Health Organization, a representative random sample of non-institutionalized inhabitants from Belgium aged 18 or older (n = 2419) were interviewed between April 2001 and June 2002. The interview took place by means of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0. Lifetime prevalence, projected lifetime risk, and age-of-onset of mental disorders were assessed.

Results

Lifetime risk for any mental disorder was 37.1%: 22.8% for mood disorders, 15.7% for anxiety disorders, and 10.8% for alcohol disorders. Median age of onset was 38 years for mood, 14 years for anxiety, and 23 years for alcohol disorders. Prevalence estimates of mood and alcohol disorders were significantly higher in the cohorts between 18 and 34 years.

Conclusion

This is the first study that assessed projected lifetime risk and age of onset of mental disorders in the Belgian general population. About one-third of the Belgian non-institutionalized adult population will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV mental disorder at some time during their life. Median age of onset varies from disorder to disorder and younger cohorts had higher likelihood for developing mental disorders.

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Fig. 1

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Acknowledgments

The ESEMeD survey was carried out in conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative. We thank the WMH staff for assistance with instrumentation, fieldwork, and data analysis. These activities were supported by the United States National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH070884), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, the US Public Health Service (R13-MH066849, R01-MH069864, and R01 DA016558), the Fogarty International Center (FIRCA R01-TW006481), the Pan American Health Organization, Eli Lilly and Company, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. A complete list of WMH publications can be found at http://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/wmh. The ESEMeD project is funded by the European Commission (Contracts QLG5-1999-01042; SANCO 2004123), the Piedmont Region (Italy), Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain (FIS 00/0028), Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, Spain (SAF 2000-158-CE), Departament de Salut, Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain, and other local agencies and by an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Between 2000 and 2005, the study in Belgium was entirely sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from GSK, whereas from 2005 onwards the study was sponsored by both GSK and the European Union (contract SANCO 2004123).

Author information

Correspondence to Prof. Dr. Koen Demyttenaere MD, PhD.

Appendix

Appendix

Appendix 1 Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders by cohort in the WMH/ESEMeD study in belgium—male respondents
Appendix 2 Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders by cohort in the WMH/ESEMeD study in Belgium—female respondents

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Bonnewyn, A., Bruffaerts, R., Vilagut, G. et al. Lifetime risk and age-of-onset of mental disorders in the Belgian general population. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 42, 522–529 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-007-0191-2

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Keywords

  • mental disorders
  • epidemiology
  • lifetime risk
  • lifetime prevalence
  • age of onset
  • Belgium