Epidemiology of psychiatric disorders in the general hospital and in primary care

Psychiatric disorders occur frequently in medical and surgical patients ( Table 1.) but are often not recognized and/or are inadequately treated by physicians and surgeons. Studies of psychiatric disorders in primary care find similar rates of mood disorders, but lower rates of organic mental disorders and of alcohol use, and arrive at overall prevalence rates of about 20 per cent, with large regional variations. These findings, and the expectations of physicians and patients, indicate the need for psychiatric involvement in 5 to 10 per cent of general hospital inpatients.

Table 1 Epidemiology of mental disorders in the general hospital;

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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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