OBJECTIVES: To provide data on rates and predictors of lifetime treatment for mental disorders in Belgium from the European Study on the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD). MATERIAL AND METHOD: This is a cross-sectional population study of 1,043 non-institutionalized adult (18+) inhabitants from Belgium, The third version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI-3.0) was administered to assess lifetime mental disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th version (DSM-IV), failure and delay of treatment for mental disorders, the duration of the delay between onset of the disorder and first treatment contact, and the proportion of persons seeking help in the same year as the onset of the disorder. RESULTS: Cumulative lifetime probability curves show that the vast majority of persons with mental disorders will eventually make a first treatment contact, although more so for mood (93.7%) and anxiety disorders (84.5%) than for alcohol disorders (61.2%). Median duration of delay in treatment was lowest for mood disorders (1 year), but peaked for anxiety (16 years) and alcohol disorders (18 years). Both older cohorts and late age of onset of the disorder predicted a higher probability of lifetime treatment. CONCLUSION: Although most disorders are eventually treated, the delays between onset of the disorder and first treatment contact are impressive, despite the high-density and high accessibility of primary and specialized care in Belgium.
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