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Depressive disorders are known to impair health-related quality of life (HRQoL) both in the short and long term. However, the determinants of long-term HRQoL outcomes in primary care patients with depressive disorders remain unclear.
In a primary care cohort study of patients with depressive disorders, 82% of 137 patients were prospectively followed up for five years. Psychiatric disorders were diagnosed with SCID-I/P and SCID-II interviews; clinical, psychosocial and socio-economic factors were investigated by rating scales and questionnaires plus medical and psychiatric records. HRQoL was measured with the generic 15D instrument at baseline and five years, and compared with an age-standardized general population sample (n = 3707) at five years.
Depression affected the 15D total score and almost all dimensions at both time points. At the end of follow-up, HRQoL of patients in major depressive episode (MDE) was particularly low, and the association between severity of depression (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI]) and HRQoL was very strong (r = −0.804). The most significant predictors for change in HRQoL were changes in BDI and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores. The mean 15D score of depressive primary care patients at five years was much worse than in the age-standardized general population, reaching normal range only among patients who were in clinical remission and had virtually no symptoms.
Among depressive primary care patients, presence of current depressive symptoms markedly reduces HRQoL, with symptoms of concurrent anxiety also having a marked impact. For HRQoL to normalize, current depressive and anxiety symptoms must be virtually absent.
Psychiatric co-morbidity is often inadequately controlled for in studies on cognitive functioning in depression. Our recent study established no major deficits in cognition among young adults with a history of pure unipolar depression. The present study extends our previous work by examining the effects of psychiatric co-morbidity and other disorder characteristics on depression-related cognitive functioning.
Performance in verbal and visual short-term memory, verbal long-term memory and learning, attention, processing speed, and executive functioning was compared between a population-based sample aged 21–35 years with a lifetime history of unipolar depressive disorders (n=126) and a random sample of healthy controls derived from the same population (n=71). Cognitive functioning was also compared between the subgroups of pure (n=69) and co-morbid (n=57) depression.
The subgroups of pure and co-morbid depression did not differ in any of the cognitive measures assessed. Only mildly compromised verbal learning was found among depressed young adults in total, but no other cognitive deficits occurred. Received treatment was associated with more impaired verbal memory and executive functioning, and younger age at first disorder onset with more impaired executive functioning.
Psychiatric co-morbidity may not aggravate cognitive functioning among depressed young adults. Regardless of co-morbidity, treatment seeking is associated with cognitive deficits, suggesting that these deficits relate to more distress.
The literature suggests an association between obesity and schizophrenia but fat mass and fat-free mass, which have been shown to be more predictive of all-cause mortality than only waist circumference and obesity [body mass index (BMI) ⩾30 kg/m2], have not been reported in psychotic disorders. We examined the detailed body composition of people with different psychotic disorders in a large population-based sample.
We used a nationally representative sample of 8082 adult Finns aged ⩾30 years with measured anthropometrics (height, weight, waist circumference, fat percentage, fat-free mass and segmental muscle mass). Psychiatric diagnoses were based on a consensus procedure utilizing the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID)-interview, case-notes and comprehensive register data.
Schizophrenia (including schizo-affective disorder) was associated with obesity [odds ratio (OR) 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5–3.6], abdominal obesity (waist circumference ⩾88 cm for women, ⩾102 cm for men) (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3–3.6) and with higher fat percentage (mean difference 3.8%, 95% CI 2.0–5.7%), adjusted for age and gender, than in the remaining sample. The associations between schizophrenia and low fat-free mass and decreased muscle mass on trunk and upper limbs became statistically significant after adjusting for BMI. After further adjusting for current antipsychotic medication, education, diet and smoking, schizophrenia remained associated with obesity (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.6) and abdominal obesity (OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.5–9.4). Participants with affective psychoses did not differ from the general population.
Individuals with schizophrenia have metabolically unfavorable body composition, comprising abdominal obesity, high fat percentage and low muscle mass. This leads to increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
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