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Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Lebanon: First Onset, Treatment, and Exposure to War


Background

There are no published data on national lifetime prevalence and treatment of mental disorders in the Arab region. Furthermore, the effect of war on first onset of disorders has not been addressed previously on a national level, especially in the Arab region. Thus, the current study aims at investigating the lifetime prevalence, treatment, age of onset of mental disorders, and their relationship to war in Lebanon.


Methods and Findings

The Lebanese Evaluation of the Burden of Ailments and Needs Of the Nation study was carried out on a nationally representative sample of the Lebanese population (n = 2,857 adults). Respondents were interviewed using the fully structured WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. Lifetime prevalence of any Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) disorder was 25.8%. Anxiety (16.7%) and mood (12.6%) were more common than impulse control (4.4%) and substance (2.2%) disorders. Only a minority of people with any mental disorder ever received professional treatment, with substantial delays (6 to 28 y) between the onset of disorders and onset of treatment. War exposure increased the risk of first onset of anxiety (odds ratio [OR] 5.92, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.5–14.1), mood (OR 3.32, 95% CI 2.0–5.6), and impulse control disorders (OR 12.72, 95% CI 4.5–35.7).

Conclusions

About one-fourth of the sample (25.8%) met criteria for at least one of the DSM-IV disorders at some point in their lives. There is a substantial unmet need for early identification and treatment. Exposure to war events increases the odds of first onset of mental disorders.

Elie G. Karam1, Zeina N. Mneimneh, Hani Dimassi, John A. Fayyad, Aimee N. Karam, Soumana C. Nasser, Somnath Chatterji, Ronald C. Kessler

Academic Editor: R. Srinivasa Murthy, World Health Organization in Sudan, Sudan

Citation: Karam EG, Mneimneh ZN, Dimassi H, Fayyad JA, Karam AN, et al. (2008) Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Lebanon: First Onset, Treatment, and Exposure to War . PLoS Med 5(4): e61 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050061

Received: October 31, 2007; Accepted: January 28, 2008; Published: April 1, 2008

Copyright: © 2008 Karam et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Posted: 06/30/2008

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