Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms

Posted on October 26, 2015

"We need to stop thinking of depression as a disease that causes a number of interchangeable symptoms," says lead author Dr Eiko Fried from the KU Leuven Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. "Depression is a complex, extremely heterogeneous system of interacting symptoms. And some of these symptoms may be far more important than others."

If you think of depression as a network of interacting symptoms, one symptom can cause another," Fried clarifies. "For instance, insomnia may lead to fatigue, which in turn may cause concentration problems that feed back into insomnia. This example of a vicious circle shows that the specific symptoms patients report, and their interactions, can be of crucial clinical importance."

Both clinicians and researchers can learn a lot from paying more attention to individual symptoms and their interactions. However, we need much more research before we can actually replace the DSM diagnosis of depression with something else.


Source material from Science Daily

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