Friday, September 22, 2023

A study indicates that half of the world’s population will suffer from a mental health disorder throughout their lives

A study published in the journal ‘The Lancet Psychiatry’ and co-directed by researchers from the University of Queensland (Australia) and Harvard Medical School (USA) has revealed that one in two people will develop a mental disorder in their lifetime.

The teacher john mcgrathfrom UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, Professor Ronald Kessler, from Harvard Medical School, and colleagues from 27 other countries analyzed data from more than 150,000 adults from 29 countries between 2001 and 2022drawn from the largest coordinated series of personal interviews ever conducted, the initiative called the ‘World Health Organization Global Survey of Mental Health’.

In the surveys, the ‘International Composite Diagnostic Interview’ of the World Health Organization was used, an interview of psychiatric diagnosis fully structured, to assess the age of onset, lifetime prevalence, and morbid risk of 13 mental disorders up to 75 years of age in all surveys by sex.

Lead author Professor McGrath has noted that the results demonstrate the high prevalence of mental health disorderswith 50 percent of the population developing at least one disorder by the age of 75.

“The most frequent are mood disorders, such as severe depression or anxietyMcGrath explained, adding that they also found that “the risk of certain mental disorders differed by sex.”

Research indicates that the three most common mental disorders among women are depression, specific phobia-disabling anxiety that interferes with daily life- and post-traumatic stress (PTSD).

For its part, according to the study, the three most common mental disorders among men are substance abuse alcohol, depression and specific phobia.

The research also found that mental disorders often first appear in childhood, adolescence, or youth. “The maximum age of onset was 15 years, with a mean age of onset of 19 years for men and 20 for women”Professor McGrath has pointed out.

“This reinforces the need to invest in basic neuroscience to understand why these disorders develop”, added the researcher.

For his part, Professor Kessler has stated that it is also necessary to invest in mental health services focused especially on young people.

Services must be able to promptly detect and treat the most common mental disorders, and be optimized to adapt to patients at these critical moments in their lives,” Kessler said.

“By knowing the age at which these disorders typically appear, we can tailor public health interventions and allocate resources to ensure that people at risk have adequate and timely support,” Kessler said.

According to the researchers, the results provide valuable information about the frequency and timing of mental disorders in highly diverse populations.


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