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June 1995

The Prevalence of Schizophrenia in Ireland: Readdressing the Enigma

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995;52(6):509. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1995.03950180095014

Consequent to the recent report by Kendler and colleagues in the Archives,1 Torrey2 challenges their assertion that there is not a high rate of schizophrenia in the general population in Ireland, while Walsh and Kendler3 defend their position; curiously, these antagonists fail to note data published previously in the Archives that is not only highly relevant to this important, long-standing, and apparently still unresolved controversy, but may also offer some resolution of the impasse.

The most recent systematic (DSM-III-R) catchment area epidemiological study of both the incidence and the prevalence of schizophrenia in rural Ireland4 reports overall rates that are entirely unremarkable and fall well within the midrange of values recorded previously on a worldwide basis, eg, a lifetime morbid risk (± SE) of0.7%±0.1% that is virtually identical to the value derived by Walsh and Kendler3; thus, there would appear to be little contemporary evidence