Objectives. To check whether registered prevalence rates of selected mental disorders among residents of the Tatra county differ from corresponding registered prevalence rates for the general population of Poland.
Method. The following variables were analyzed: prevalence of mental disorders registered in the outpatient and inpatient psychiatric facilities, with the emphasis on affective and alcohol-related disorders (including alcohol psychoses), suicide rate.
Results. While the registered prevalence rates of mood and alcohol-related disorders were lower than these for the whole Polish population, a rapid increase in prevalence rates of alcohol-related disorders in the period under study was much higher in the Tatra county. The increasing rates of alcohol-related disorders were accompanied by a decrease in mood disorders prevalence, which was rising in the general Polish population at that time. Hospital admission rates for alcohol psychoses in the years 2003-2005 and 2007 were higher than the respective average rates for Poland. Suicide rates were almost twice as high (and almost thrice as high in the year 2003) in the Tatra county than the average Polish rate. Suicide was committed more often by men, and in recent years by rural area residents of the county.
Conclusions. The prevalence and dynamics of mental disorders in the Tatra county differ from the tendencies observed generally in Poland. Significantly higher suicide rates may suggest a more widespread depressive disorders, even though there was no increase in the registered prevalence of affective disorders. At the same time, the rapid increase in alcohol-related disorders prevalence and more frequent diagnosing of alcohol psychoses in recent years may indicate depression masked by alcohol. Thus, perhaps action aimed at an improvement of psychiatric care delivery to patients with depressive disorders in the Tatra county should be considered.