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J Clin Psychiatry. 2007;68 Suppl 2:10-9.

The global burden of anxiety and mood disorders: putting the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) findings into perspective.

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  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


This article compares the preliminary, descriptive European Study of The Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) findings reported in this supplement with 8 broad patterns of results found in previous psychiatric epidemiologic surveys. It is a systematic review of the literature on community epidemiologic surveys of anxiety and mood disorders. It concludes that the ESEMeD findings are broadly consistent with the patterns found in previous surveys but faults the preliminary ESEMeD analyses for failing to distinguish cases by severity and to consider the effects of severity on need for treatment. The fact that the ESEMeD surveys collected much richer data than previous psychiatric epidemiologic surveys on role impairment, symptom severity, and episode duration makes it possible to develop more useful classifications of clinical severity in future analyses. Elaborations that feature such distinctions have the potential to substantially increase the relevance of the ESEMeD findings for European health care policy.

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