Context: Recent general population surveys of psychotic disorders have found low lifetime prevalences. However, this may be owing to methodological problems. Few studies have reported the prevalences of all specific psychotic disorders.
Objective: To provide reliable estimates of the lifetime prevalences of specific psychotic disorders.
Design: General population survey.
Setting and participants: A nationally representative sample of 8028 persons 30 years or older was screened for psychotic and bipolar I disorders using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, self-reported diagnoses, medical examination, and national registers. Those selected by the screens were then re-interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Best-estimate DSM-IV diagnoses were formed by combining the interview and case note data. Register diagnoses were used to estimate the effect of the nonresponders.
Main outcome measures: Diagnosis of any psychotic or bipolar I disorder according to the DSM-IV criteria.
Results: The lifetime prevalence of all psychotic disorders was 3.06% and rose to 3.48% when register diagnoses of the nonresponder group were included. Lifetime prevalences were as follows: 0.87% for schizophrenia, 0.32% for schizoaffective disorder, 0.07% for schizophreniform disorder, 0.18% for delusional disorder, 0.24% for bipolar I disorder, 0.35% for major depressive disorder with psychotic features, 0.42% for substance-induced psychotic disorders, and 0.21% for psychotic disorders due to a general medical condition. The National Hospital Discharge Register was the most reliable of the screens (kappa = 0.80). Case notes supplementing the interviews were essential for specific diagnoses of psychotic disorders.
Conclusions: Multiple sources of information are essential for accurate estimation of lifetime prevalences of psychotic disorders. The use of comprehensive methods reveals that their lifetime prevalence exceeds 3%.