Introduction: Chronic Major Depression: A Review and Update

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Major depressive disorder has commonly been conceptualized as an episodic, recurrent condition. However, recent findings1,2 indicate that a chronic course is far more common than originally believed. Further evidence3,4 indicates that even if the major depressive episode “ends,” meaning that symptoms are insufficient in number or pervasiveness to meet DSM-IV criteria for an episode of major depression, many patients still have “residual symptoms,” which, in turn, are associated with poorer function and a worse prognosis1,5 than are found in patients who attain a fully remitted or “asymptomatic” state.

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(suppl 6):3-4