Primary care physicians continue to play a key role in the early detection and treatment of most psychiatric disorders, especially depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders (Jair de Jesus, 2003). Epidemiological studies have shown high prevalence of mental disorders in populations seen in primary care that range from 20% to 50% (Ansseau et al., 2004; Ansseau, Fischler, Dierick, Mignon, & Leyman, 2005; Aragones et al., 2004; Avasthi et al., 2008; Baca et al., 1999; Balestrieri, Isola, Quartaroli, Roncolato, & Bellantuono, 2010; Nordstrom & Bodlund, 2008; Norton et al., 2009; Serrano-Blanco et al., 2010; Toft et al., 2005).
This wide range may be due to differences in the methodologies of the studies, the evaluation tools used and/or the social conditions of the population included in the studies (Ansseau et al., 2008; Brenes et al., 2008; Marks, Wegelin, Bourgeois, & Perkins, 2010).
al., 2010). Substance abuse disorders are often difficult to diagnose with the usual diagnostic tools, so their prevalence rates may be underestimated (Nordstrom & Bodlund, 2008; ZamZam, Thambu, Midin, Omar, & Kaur, 2009). Comorbidity is frequent (Toft et al., 2005) and is associated with greater disability levels compared to individuals with a single diagnosis (Roy-Byrne et al., 2000; Wittchen, Lieb, Wunderlich, & Schuster, 1999). Epidemiological analysis of mental disorders at the primary care level continues to appeal to the interest of researchers for several reasons. First, social features, including immigration, socio-economic conditions and lifestyles associated with particular geographical areas, can be examined. (Ansseau et al., 2008; Schers, Bor, van den Hoogen, & van Weel, 2008; Van den Dungen et al., 2008). Second, addressing the heavy socio-economic burden related to highly prevalent mental illnesses, especially in non-diagnosed, non-treated cases, is desirable (Collins et al., 2011; Lowe et al., 2008). Finally, these analyses are a means to identify risk groups in specific population areas (…)