Completeness of response and quality of life in mood and anxiety disorders.
Mental health care has traditionally focused on the need to document relief of specific symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, as well as how the patient functions in social roles. Recently, there has been increased attention paid to the issue of quality of life (QOL) and psychiatric illness. There has been a growing recognition that different treatment options may vary in their effects on the patient's ability to function in multiple life domains. Studies focusing on the QOL in patients suffering from mood and anxiety disorders have become more prevalent. Depression and anxiety disorders impose a substantial cost on society in terms of both psychiatric service costs as well as the loss of the individual to society through lost work production. However, a change in the severity of depression or anxiety often correlates with a change in disability and health service utilization. Lately, there have been a number of treatment studies of anxiety and depressive disorders that have examined the effect of treatment on QOL. Although treatment may reduce the severity and frequency of target symptoms, the patient's assessment of QOL helps to differentiate a true treatment response and remission from a partial response. The evaluation of what constitutes an adequate treatment response or remission is complicated and likely requires multiple assessment instruments in order to develop a complete understanding. In both anxiety and depressive disorders, the patient suffers from impaired functioning, which results in increased healthcare utilization. Because these patients do respond to treatment, the idea of "wellness" as a high end state treatment outcome should be an important consideration when selecting a treatment option.
Meltzer-Brody, S; Davidson, JR
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