Of 45 first admission schizophrenics from 1963, an incidence by first admission group for northern Alberta, 43 were followed-up 14 years later. Based on these figures the expectancy was found to be 0.49%. The proportion of patients who were married was less than expected in comparison with the general population, but amongst the married, fertility was probably comparable to the population's. At follow-up about half the patients were managing well with little or no disability, one quarter had moderate to marked disability and the remainder were socially, psychiatrically and occupationally disabled. From the time of first admission, patients had spent an average of 15% of their time in hospital and lost 28% of the total time due to psychiatric disability.
To examine the relationship between remission of psychiatric disorders and age.
We interviewed 3258 randomly selected adult residents of Edmonton using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), which yielded DIS/DSM-III diagnoses. Remission was defined as being free of symptoms of the index lifetime disorder in the year preceding the interview, this being the difference between the lifetime and one-year prevalence. For each age group, the proportion of cases with and without symptoms in the preceding year was calculated. Numbers and proportions of cases were estimated after adjusting to the census population and weighting for household size. Only the more common disorders were examined; any comorbidities were ignored.
Drug abuse or dependence, antisocial personality disorder (in both sexes), and alcohol abuse or dependence (in men) all showed remission rates that increased with age. Panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) showed a decreased likelihood of remission with increasing age. Major depression and phobias showed little tendency to remission with age. Considering all disorders together, the one-year remission rate for all ages combined was only 33.2%, with a tendency for lower remission rates to be found in those aged 55 to 64.
As may be expected, antisocial personality, drug abuse or dependence, and alcohol abuse or dependence tend to show increased remission rates with increasing age. In OCD and panic disorder, the low rates of remission found in all age groups indicate that these disorders produce significant long-term morbidity. For depression, which had an overall remission rate of less than 50%, the stable low rate of remission probably indicates not only the difficulties of treatment but also the low rates at which cases get treated.
Age of onset of psychiatric disorders was determined from a random sample of 3,258 household residents who were administered the DIS by trained lay interviewers. Onset was determined by the subject's recall of the age of the first symptom in those who met lifetime criteria for a diagnosis (DSM III without exclusions). The peak age of risk for most disorders was from the teens to 30 years, however a number of schizophrenics showed first symptoms before age 10. Few cases of any disorder had an onset in old age. The ages of onset are generally lower than those usually given from series of treated or hospitalized cases.
The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) is a highly structured instrument that enables lay examiners to gather the clinical information necessary to generate psychiatric disorders according to the DSM-III, Feighner, and Research Diagnostic Criteria. It was developed originally as the diagnostic interview for the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) survey. Because it adheres to DSM-III and can be used by lay interviewers, thus making it practical for studies involving large samples, it has been used for other population surveys in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. This investigation compares the epidemiology of DSM-III-defined alcohol abuse and addiction in DIS-based population surveys cross-nationally (in St Louis, Mo; Edmonton, Canada; Puerto Rico; Taipei City, Taiwan; and South Korea). We found considerable variation in the lifetime prevalence of alcoholism but a similarity in the age of onset, the symptomatic expression, and the associated risk factors. We also found an inverse correlation between the prevalence of alcoholism and the strength of the association of the risk factors we examined. The work described herein demonstrates the utility of consistent definition and method in cross-cultural psychiatric research. The substantive findings have implications for the definition of alcoholism and for a better understanding of genetic and environmental interactions in its etiology.
Population surveys were conducted, examining nonpsychotic psychiatric symptoms, life events, and problems in community living in Primrose, a community experiencing rapid growth in anticipation of the construction of a heavy oil extraction plant, and in Wolf Creek, a stable rural town. Psychiatric symptom levels were lower in the boom town than in Wolf Creek, but the Primrose symptom levels were comparable to those in Saskatchewan. More life events were experienced by Primrose residents who, despite lower symptom levels, had seen their physician more often for minor illnesses. The complaints about living in the town of Primrose matched those of boom town residents from elsewhere. There was no evidence to support the popular view that living in a boom town creates more nonpsychotic psychiatric symptomatology. The higher proportion of the boom town population using physician services for minor illnesses, the higher level of life events reported, and the high frequency of reported problems for families living in the boom town support suggestions that stress is associated with these conditions.
This report describes trends in the death rate for all mental disorders, presenile and senile dementia, and alcoholic psychoses and alcohol abuse/dependence in Canada for the period 1965-1983. It is demonstrated that overall there has been an increase in the death rate for each of these causes of mortality, both for males and females, and that in the case of presenile and senile dementia the increase has been particularly rapid. The older age groups appear to be contributing most to the observed changes. Conjectures are made as to the underlying reasons for the observed trends.
Canadian national data for functional psychoses (classified as schizophrenia, effective psychoses, paranoid states and reactive psychoses) are analyzed for age, sex, marital status, expectancy for first admissions and length of stay for discharges. Differences are found such that each psychosis can be distinguished from the others, thus providing indirect evidence supporting the use of the different diagnoses. The demographic characteristics of reactive psychoses from North American data have not been previously described, and are found to be similar to Scandinavian descriptions. Sex ratios for subgroup diagnoses whow similarities between catatonic schizophrenics, manic (bipolar) affectives, and reactive psychoses. Schizoaffective psychoses resemble affectives more than schizophrenia, and paraphrenia is similar to affectives. Total expectancies for functional psychosis (4.4% for males, 5.5% for females) are similar to Scandinavian figures, but the distribution by diagnosis differs, perhaps representing different diagnostic practices, but generally similar sex ratios and high rates in single persons are found.
This paper describes aspects of the study design and field methods used in a survey of psychiatric disorders carried out in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Between January 1983 and May 1986, information was gathered on 3,258 community residents using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule and the General Health Questionnaire - 30 item version. The survey had a response rate of 71.6%. The nature of the sampling strategy used, features of the study instruments chosen, the selection and training of interviewers, and the approach to data analysis are briefly described.
A two-phase survey of mental disorders uses a screening test to identify possible cases, thereby reducing the resources devoted to interviewing those not having the condition of interest. It is demonstrated using a mathematical model that in situations likely to be encountered in practice a two-phase design may lead to an increase in the efficiency of prevalence rate estimation, and also to an improvement in the efficiency of case detection. However, in certain applications the modest gain in efficiency may not warrant the additional complexity of a two-phase approach to data collection. Data from a survey of mental disorders in Edmonton, Canada, which collected information on 3258 community residents using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule and the General Health Questionnaire, are used to demonstrate how two-phase methods would have changed the efficiency of an actual survey.
Erratum In: Psychol Med 1990 Aug;20(3):following 745
The use of ECT over an eleven year period in the University of Alberta Hospitals is reviewed. Five percent of patients received ECT, the mean number of treatments per course was 5.2, and the most frequent type of treatment was bilateral ECT. Discharge diagnoses showed that three-quarters of the patients had affective psychoses and one-fifth were schizophrenic. All patients had had a mandatory consultation before treatment and the most frequent reasons for choosing ECT were given as: failed antidepressant treatment, previous good response to ECT, failure to respond to other treatment, uncontrollable delusions or psychotic behavior, acute suicidal risk requiring a rapid response, and adverse reaction to medication. The mandatory consultation process has worked well and has helped to clarify the situations where ECT may be used with benefit. It is hoped that this may assist those who may be responsible for defining guidelines for the use of ECT.