The causes for the common depression have been identified by US scientists which will contribute towards finding an effective treatment for the ailment. The major depressive disorder is quite common and often chronic and recurrent. There are quite a number of effective treatments for depression, even though their side effects, clinical benefits, and actual acceptability are not well known.
William S. Gilmer, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and his colleagues studied 4,041 patients enrolled at 14 universities, according to science portal EurekAlert.
Preliminary results from this seven-year project, STAR-D (Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression), show that chronic depressive episodes are common and are associated with factors like poor physical health, low quality of life, socio-economic disadvantages and minority status.
The study that claimed to be one of the nation's largest studies of depression found that 21% of the participants of the study were experiencing chronic major depressive episodes on enrolment in the study.
Findings of this study highlight the common occurrence of chronic episodes of major depression and the range of factors that contribute to them in both the psychiatric and primary care settings.
The analysis, which was published in the December issue of the journal Acta Psychiatric Scandinavica, identified baseline socio-economic and clinical features associated with chronic depression in the first 1,500 participants.
Chronic episodes were associated with older age, less education, lower income, no private insurance, unemployment, larger number of general medical illnesses, lower physical quality of life, concurrent generalized anxiety disorder, fewer prior episodes of major depression and a history of suicide attempts, it said.
African Americans, Hispanics and patients receiving care in primary as opposed to psychiatric care settings experienced more chronic episodes.
'Clearly, the association of chronic depressions with co-occurring medical illnesses and treatment in primary care settings warrants further exploration,' Gilmer said.