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“Epidemiology of schizophrenia. A thriving discipline at the turn of the century”.
Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2000 Jan;250(6):271-3.
In most developed countries the 20th century was accompanied by a radical change in mental health care policy. The old system characterised by large mental hospitals where great numbers of chronically mentally ill patients were kept over long periods of time was replaced by a new system of acute care provided by psychiatric units at general hospitals and of effective and comprehensive community care for chronic patients. To achieve this more or less drastic dehospitalisation programmes were carried out. The 20th century also saw the rise of psychiatric epidemiology. Though currently payed less attention because of the predominance of neurobiology, epidemiology has grown into one of the basic sciences in psychiatry. It provides the tools for mental health services research, for evaluative studies and cost analysis of mental health care programmes, services and systems, for studies into the natural and treatment histories of diseases and for the assessment of morbid risks in populations. Epidemiology also provides the basis for estimating needs for treatment and their geographic and social distributions. Analytic epidemiology involves the study of risk factors and provides indicators of causal processes in the development and course of mental disorders.
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