The Lifetime and 6 month DSM-III prevalence rates of mental disorders from an adult general population sample of former West Germany are reported. The most frequent mental disorders (lifetime) from the Munich Follow-up Study were anxiety disorders (13.87%), followed by substance (13.51%) and affective (12.90%) disorders. Within anxiety disorders, simple and social phobia (8.01%) were the most common, followed by agoraphobia (5.47%) and panic disorder (2.39%). Females had about twice the rates of males for affective (18.68% versus 6.42%), anxiety (18.13% versus 9.07%), and somatization disorders (1.60% versus 0.00%); males had about three times the rates of substance disorders (21.23% versus 6.11%) of females. Being widowed and separated/divorced was associated with high rates of major depression. Most disordered subjects had at least two diagnoses (69%). The most frequent comorbidity pattern was anxiety and affective disorders. Simple and social phobia began mostly in childhood or early adolescence, whereas agoraphobia and panic disorder had a later average age of onset. The majority of the cases with both anxiety and depression had depression clearly after the occurrence of anxiety. The DIS-DSM-III findings of our study have been compared with both ICD-9 diagnoses assigned by clinicians independently as well as other epidemiological studies conducted with a comparable methodology.