Quality of Life and Major Depression

  • Marcelo T. Berlim
  • Marcelo P.A. Fleck


Major depression (MD) is a public health problem that is associated with grave consequences in terms of excessive mortality, disability, and secondary morbidity. Indeed, it ranked fourth in 1990 and could rise to second by 2020 in terms of the overall burden of all diseases worldwide. Therefore, it is now clear that current research on the health impact of depression should go beyond estimating its prevalence, symptoms severity, and complications to include studies that seek to establish how it influences the quality of life (QOL) of the affected individuals. In the present chapter we will outline how measures of QOL may reveal differences between patients with depression and control groups, be sensitive to change in status during treatment, have predictive value for outcome measures and provide additional information about timelines for improvement in psychosocial functioning, which may occur at a different rate than changes in other depressive symptoms. More specifically, we will summarize recent investigations that have generally shown that: (1) depressed patients have QOL deficits that are directly attributable to the mood disturbance, (2) the degree of the decrement in QOL is proportional to the severity of depressive symptoms, (3) the negative relation between depression and QOL is as great as (or worse than) that observed in chronic medical disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, and (4) the adequate treatment of depression is usually associated with a significant improvement in the QOL of patients. Finally, we will discuss future perspectives involved in the evaluation of QOL in populations of depressed subjects


Depressive Symptom Major Depression Depressed Patient Clin Psychiatry Psychosocial Functioning 
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Copyright information

© springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcelo T. Berlim
    • 1
  • Marcelo P.A. Fleck
    • 2
  1. 1.Depressive Disorders ProgramDouglas Hospital Research Centre, FBC PavilionMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine; HeadMood Disorders Program Hospital de Clínicas de Porto AlegreBrazil

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