More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Depression Symptoms Cured at Different Rates
by Jane Parry
Feb 21st 2008

Antidepressant medications can improve a range of depression-related symptoms, but not all of the effects of depression subside at the same rate, according to a report published in the January/February issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

James E. Aikens, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed data on 573 patients with depression enrolled in a large clinical trial of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, who were randomized to receive fluoxetine, paroxetine or sertraline, and who were assessed after one, three, six and nine months to measure progress in social and work functioning, positive well-being, depressive symptom severity, hopefulness and somatic complaints.

By the one-month mark, 68 percent of the improvements in mood were achieved, rising to 88 percent by month three. Although work and social functioning and positive affect improved in step with mood, pain complaints peaked earlier and a sense of hopefulness took longer to return.

"Contemporary models of depression tend to define remission strictly in terms of depressive symptoms. Our findings challenge the adequacy of this definition by demonstrating that treatment response is multidimensional in nature and has complex temporal dynamics," the authors write. "We believe that current remission models need to be broadened to consider alternative remission states based upon a variety of functional indices."

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