Secular changes in incidence

This refers to the rise and fall of diseases in populations, with the possibility of making projections into the future. For example, there is some evidence that schizophrenia has been dropping in incidence and becoming more benign in its clinical course, (8) it is possible that depressive disorder has become more frequent in persons born since the Second World War(9l0) (the suicide rate of young persons has indisputably increased in many industrialized countries), it is likely that eating disorders have increased in frequency in some industrialized countries, and it is certain that the use of heroin and the AIDS epidemic with its neuropsychiatric sequelae are new arrivals and will be a continuing burden.

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