Residual symptoms in older patients treated for major depression.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify residual symptoms in a sample of older adults treated for major depression and compare individual symptoms present at baseline with those at three months by remission status. METHODS: The sample was comprised of 229 patients with DSM-IV major depression who were participants in the NIMH Mental Health Clinical Research Center at Duke University. Symptoms were measured using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). RESULTS: At three months, 86 patients (37.6%) had remitted, or had a MADRS score less than or equal to 9. In the remitted group, the most frequently reported symptoms at three months were inner tension and lassitude. Among nonremitters, the most frequently reported symptoms were reported and apparent sadness, as well as lassitude and inner tension. In the sample as a whole, the symptoms most likely to be present at baseline but not three months were pessimistic and suicidal thoughts, while the most frequently reported emergent symptoms were reduced appetite and inner tension. Patients were much more likely to no longer have a particular symptom than to acquire a new symptom. Overall, the symptoms present at three months were not severe in either group. CONCLUSIONS: In older adults treated for major depression, residual symptoms at three months may include emergent symptoms as well as persistent symptoms, and are likely to include symptoms of anxiety as well as sadness. These findings have clinical implications for the treatment of late-life depression.
Hybels, CF; Steffens, DC; McQuoid, DR; Rama Krishnan, KR
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