The Patient Experience of Depression and Remission: Focus Group Results

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Few depression measures were developed with the patient perspective. To obtain patient views on depression and early symptom resolution, 4 focus groups (N = 31) were conducted. Patients also completed the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology (Self-Report), SF-36, and a rating of the bothersomeness and significance of 12 symptoms of depression. Transcripts were reviewed for major themes. Irritability was a key symptom and it remitted earlier than others. Important to participants were low mood, low energy, lack of motivation, lack of focus/concentration, feelings of guilt, self-critical thoughts, feeling overwhelmed, lack of enjoyment, hypersomnia, restlessness, anger, and irritability. Gender differences emerged; most men reported irritability as one of the first symptoms to remit; for women, motivation level and energy commonly remitted first. Results suggest that new measures of treatment outcome should encompass irritability, anger, and ability to cope with life stressors.

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