Abstract

Adults in a village in Lesotho, Africa, were interviewed to determine the community prevalence of major depression, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder. The prevalence data were compared with data from a large epidemiological study in the United States utilising the same research instrument. There was a significantly higher prevalence of all three diagnoses in Lesotho as compared with the United States. As in the United States, women were at an increased risk for these disorders, although statistical significance was not demonstrated for depression. The majority of people (77%) who had experienced panic attacks said they had sought help for their symptoms, with the majority attending Western-trained doctors. The relationship between explanatory models and help-seeking behaviour was explored in people who had had panic attacks. Less than 40% of those with generalised anxiety disorder said they sought help.