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Only a few European countries have carried out large, community-based, national surveys about psychiatric morbidity. Here is presented the first national French survey, aiming to estimate the prevalence of anxiety disorders and associated comorbidities according to sociodemographic characteristics.
Materials and methods
The Mental Health in General Population (MHGP) database is derived from a representative national survey of the French adult population (n = 36,105), conducted between 1999 and 2003. Data collection was done using an anonymous face-to-face interview. The presence of anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder) was assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.
The overall prevalence of anxiety disorders was estimated to be 21.6%, generalized anxiety disorder being the most prevalent one (12.8%). Women, young people, and people earning low income were identified as the more at risk. Major depressive episode, alcohol abuse and drug addiction frequently co-occur with anxiety disorders (28.3, 4.4 and 2.8% respectively).
The MHGP study showed that anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in France with a high frequency of comorbidities. Our results highlight the need for considering anxiety disorders as a public health priority in France as well as in other European countries.
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