J Affect Disord 2015 Mar 10;174:390-6. Epub 2014 Dec 10.
University Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Unit for Suicide Research, University of Ghent Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.
Aims: The comparison of what physicians and patients consider important in being cured from depression.
Methods: 426 outpatients (in primary care and in psychiatric care) with a clinical diagnosis of major depression were included: at the start of antidepressant treatment, the importance of a range of items for being cured from depression (depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms, positive affect, functional impairment, quality of life) was assessed in physicians and patients separately and a ranking was made; after 3 months of treatment, the importance of these items for being cured from depression was re-assessed in the patients.
Results: The items ranked top 10 by physicians mainly contain depressive symptoms while those ranked top 10 by patients mainly contain positive affect items and this attention to positive affect even increases at 3 months follow-up and is higher in patients with recurrent depression than in patients with a first episode of depression. Somatic symptoms consistently get the lowest ranking, as well in physicians as in patients.
Conclusions: Physicians differ significantly from patients in what they consider important for 'being cured from depression': physicians mainly focus on alleviation of depressive symptoms while patients mainly focus on the restoration of positive affect.