Psychotic experiences were infrequent in the general population, with an average lifetime prevalence of ever having such an episode estimated at 5.8%, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Interest in the epidemiologic landscape of hallucinations and delusions has grown because these psychotic experiences (PEs) are reported by a sizable minority of the population. Some have called for more fine-grained analyses of PEs to guide the field.

Researcher John J. McGrath, PhD, MD, of the University of Queensland, Australia, and coauthors examined data collected in the World Health Organization World Mental Health surveys to explore detailed epidemiologic information about PEs. The data came from 18 countries across North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the South Pacific and Europe. Respondents included 31,261 adults who were asked about the prevalence and frequency of PEs (two hallucinatory experiences and four delusional experiences).

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