BACKGROUND: Although compulsory admission (CA) is highly relevant to society, epidemiological data for European countries are scarce and of limited reliability and comparability. In several European countries the incidence of CA seems to be increasing. AIM: To estimate the incidence and evolution of CA in Belgium and the Netherlands by pooling and analysing available epidemiological data. METHOD: We reviewed the literature systematically, paying particular attention to relevant epidemiological data (in published articles and in grey literature). All data were (re)calculated into yearly incidence rates of CA per 100,000 inhabitants. RESULTS: The incidence of CA increased by 42% in Belgium (1999-2008) and by 25% in the Netherlands (2002-2009), culminating in incidence rates of 47/100,000/y (Belgium, 2008) and 80/100.000/y (Netherlands, 2009). Between-country differences can be attributed partly to differences in the legal systems. More detailed results, regional differences, and problems with the comparison of epidemiological data on CA are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: Our data point to a significant increase of the incidence of CA in both Belgium and the Netherlands. To improve the comparability and quality of the data on CA, European countries will need to strive for greater uniformity and standardisation in the way these data are registered.

Civil commitment registration, Coercion, Compulsory admission
Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schoevaerts, K, Bruffaerts, R, Mulder, C.L, & Vandenberghe, J. (2013). An increase of compulsory admissions in Belgium and the Netherlands: An epidemiological exploration. Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie (Vol. 55, pp. 45–55). Retrieved from