Psychiatric disorders: a global look at facts and figures

Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010 Dec;7(12):16-9.


According to data from Western countries, psychiatric disorders are relatively prevalent. For example, in the United States general population, data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication study indicate that about one-quarter of individuals experience a psychiatric disorder in a given year, with lifetime rates at about 50 percent. For both prevalence designations, anxiety disorders are most common. According to data from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, the 12-month and lifetime-prevalence rates for psychiatric disorders among European general populations are 11.5 and 25.9 percent, respectively, with mood and anxiety disorders evidencing approximately equal rates. As expected, in primary care settings, the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the United States and Europe is high, with point-prevalence rates varying, but affecting approximately 25 to 30 percent of patients. In primary care settings, the most common psychiatric diagnoses are mood and anxiety disorders as well as somatoform disorders. While no global summary of cost of care is available, the high prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders correspond with high expenditures for mental healthcare, as evidenced by a number of sources. Given these latter findings, prevention becomes all the more relevant in terms of cost management.

Keywords: Psychiatric disorders; disability; mental healthcare costs; prevalence rates.