Antidepressants do not cure all the symptoms of depression. During
the study, researchers of the UT Southwestern Medical Center found that even people who show a clear treatment
response with antidepressant medications continue to experience symptoms like
insomnia, sadness and decreased concentration. They also cited concern over the
complete recovery of patients who persistently experience these residual
During the 6-year study which had 4,000 participants with
major depressive disorders, researchers studied an extensive range of symptoms
of depression like sadness, suicidal thoughts; and changes in sleeping pattern,
appetite or weight, concentration, outlook and energy or fatigue. They studied
these parameters at the beginning of the trial and also at the end of the
antidepressant treatment course. All the participants reported about three to thirteen
residual depressive symptoms while 75% of participants reported five or more symptoms.
79% reported mid-nocturnal insomnia, 71% sadness and 70% reported decreased
concentration and decision making skills.
study suggests that use of measurement-based care techniques to identify and
target residual symptoms is essential to help the patients with depression to
return back to normal and eventually recover from depression. It was
also found that the effects of antidepressants continued for at least 9-months even
after the antidepressant medication was stopped.
This study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.