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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1990 Apr;178(4):242-6.

Psychiatric epidemiology in Korea. Part I: Gender and age differences in Seoul.

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  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University School of Medicine, Korea.


The most dramatic finding was the very high prevalence of alcohol abuse, using DSM-III criteria, among men in Seoul, Korea. The prevalence of other psychiatric disorders was lower than in St. Louis, Missouri. With the current biological emphasis in psychiatry, questions may be raised regarding the different prevalence rates of schizophrenia, affective disorders, and even alcoholism. The deficit of the aldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzyme 1 has been hypothesized to reduce the prevalence of alcohol abuse among Asians. Twenty-five percent of Koreans have been found to be deficient in the enzyme, but despite this their prevalence of alcohol abuse is higher than among Americans. Cultural issues are paramount in the much lower prevalence of alcohol abuse among women in Korea.

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