Services research and outcomesAge of onset of mental disorders: a review of recent literatureKessler, Ronald Ca; Amminger, G Paulb; Aguilar-Gaxiola, Sergioc; Alonso, Jordid; Lee, Singe; Üstün, T BedirhanfAuthor Information aDepartment of Healthcare Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA bThe ORYGEN Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Australia cCenter for Reducing Health Disparities, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, USA dHealth Services Research Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigacio Medica-Institut Municipal d'Assistencia Sanitaria (IMIM-IMAS), Barcelona, Spain eDepartment of Psychiatry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China fGlobal Programme on Evidence for Health Policy, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland Correspondence to R.C. Kessler, PhD, Department of Healthcare Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 432 3587; fax: +1 617 432 3588; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 359-364 doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32816ebc8c Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The aim of this article is to review recent epidemiological research on age-of-onset of mental disorders, focusing on the WHO World Mental Health surveys. Recent findings Median and inter-quartile range (IQR; 25th–75th percentiles) of age-of-onset is much earlier for phobias (7–14, IQR 4–20) and impulse–control disorders (7–15; IQR 4–35) than other anxiety disorders (25–53, IQR 15–75), mood disorders (25–45, IQR 17–65), and substance disorders (18–29, IQR 16–43). Although less data exist for nonaffective psychosis, available evidence suggests that median age-of-onset is in the range late teens through early 20s. Roughly half of all lifetime mental disorders in most studies start by the mid-teens and three quarters by the mid-20s. Later onsets are mostly secondary conditions. Severe disorders are typically preceded by less severe disorders that are seldom brought to clinical attention. Summary First onset of mental disorders usually occur in childhood or adolescence, although treatment typically does not occur until a number of years later. Although interventions with early incipient disorders might help reduce severity-persistence of primary disorders and prevent secondary disorders, additional research is needed on appropriate treatments for early incipient cases and on long-term evaluation of the effects of early intervention on secondary prevention. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.