Epidemiology

Studies in paediatric populations have found a peak in age of onset in the prepubertal years, with higher rates in males (Swedo et al., 1989). Mean age at first onset in adults is generally mid-to-late twenties to early thirties (Weissman et al., 1994), with earlier onset in males. The National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity (Meltzer et al., 1995; Jenkins et al., 1997) used the Clinical Interview Scale, Revised (CIS-R) on a sample of approximately 10000 adults randomly selected from the general population of the UK and showed an OCD prevalence of 1 % in males and 1.5 % in females. There was a peak at 20 to 24 years and no association with educational level. Cross-national, cross-cultural surveys confirmed that the prevalence was higher than previously thought (Weissman et al., 1994). Data from seven international epidemiological surveys showed annual prevalence rates of OCD were remarkably consistent from 1.1 per 100 in Korea and New Zealand to 1.8 per 100 in Puerto Rico. The only exception was Taiwan at 0.4/100. Taiwan has the lowest prevalence for all psychiatric disorders. Lifetime prevalence rates fell between 1.9 per 100 and 2.5 per 100 (except for Taiwan).

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