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The Epidemiology of Chronic Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(12):1645-1656
10.4088/JCP.09m05663gry

Objective: To examine the prevalence of chronic major depressive disorder (CMDD) and dysthymic disorder, their sociodemographic correlates, patterns of 12-month and lifetime psychiatric comorbidity, lifetime risk factors, psychosocial functioning, and mental health service utilization.

Method: Face-to-face interviews were conducted in the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (n = 43,093).

Results: The 12-month and lifetime prevalences were greater for CMDD (1.5% and 3.1%, respectively) than for dysthymic disorder (0.5% and 0.9%, respectively). Individuals with CMDD and dysthymic disorder shared most sociodemographic correlates and lifetime risk factors for major depressive disorder. Individuals with CMDD and dysthymic disorder had almost identically high rates of Axis I and Axis II comorbid disorders. However, individuals with CMDD received higher rates of all treatment modalities than individuals with dysthymic disorder.

Conclusions: Individuals with CMDD and dysthymic disorder share many sociodemographic correlates, comorbidity patterns, risk factors, and course. Individuals with chronic depressive disorders, especially those with dysthymic disorder, continue to face substantial unmet treatment needs.

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(12):1645–1656

Submitted: September 2, 2009; accepted November 10, 2009 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05663gry).

Corresponding author: Bridget F. Grant, PhD, PhD, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry, Room 3077, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, MS 9304, 5635 Fishers Lane, Bethesda, MD 20892-9304 (bgrant@willco.niaaa.nih.gov)