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Longitudinal syndromal and sub-syndromal symptoms after severe depression: 10-year follow-up study

  • Noel Kennedy (a1), Rosemary Abbott (a1) and Eugene S. Paykel (a2)

Extract

Background

Few follow-up studies of depression have evaluated depressive symptomatology over time at both threshold and sub-threshold levels.

Aims

To evaluate long-term longitudinal symptomatic course after an episode of severe depression.

Method

A total of 61 participants from a previous study cohort underwent a detailed interview covering the longitudinal course of depression and pharmacological treatment over 8–11 years of follow-up.

Results

Of the follow-up months, 52% were spent at an asymptomatic level, 15% at minor symptom level, 20% at residual symptom level and 13% at full depression level. Also, 30% of follow-up months were spent in an episode of depression, and 18% of patients never achieved asymptomatic status during follow-up. The percentage of patients at each symptom level remained relatively stable after the first 2 years, but levels in individuals fluctuated, with a mean of two changes in symptom levels per follow-up year.

Conclusions

After severe episodes, sub-syndromal levels of depression are common and persistent, with considerable fluctuation suggesting a continuum between sub-syndromal subtypes and full depression.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr N. Kennedy, Box 63, Section of General Psychiatry, Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. Tel: 020 784 80135; e-mail: N.Kennedy@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes

References

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Longitudinal syndromal and sub-syndromal symptoms after severe depression: 10-year follow-up study

  • Noel Kennedy (a1), Rosemary Abbott (a1) and Eugene S. Paykel (a2)
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