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Half of Global Population May Have a Mental Disorder by Age 75 Years

Gender differences seen in prevalence, timing, and most common mental disorders

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) — By age 75 years, approximately half the global population can expect to develop a mental disorder, according to a study published online July 30 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

John J. McGrath, Ph.D., from Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues used data from 156,331 adult participants in the World Mental Health surveys (2001 to 2022; 29 countries) to estimate age-of-onset distributions, lifetime prevalence, and morbid risk for mental disorders.

The researchers found that the lifetime prevalence of any mental disorder was 28.6 percent for male respondents and 29.8 percent for female respondents. By age 75 years, the morbid risk for any mental disorder was 46.4 percent for male respondents and 53.1 percent for female respondents. At 15 years, the conditional probabilities of first onset peaked, with a median age of onset of 19 years for male respondents and 20 years for female respondents. Alcohol use disorder and major depressive disorder were the two most prevalent disorders for male respondents, while major depressive disorder and specific phobia were most prevalent for female respondents.

“By understanding the age at which these disorders commonly arise, we can tailor public health interventions and allocate resources to ensure that appropriate and timely support is available to individuals at risk,” coauthor Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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