A new way to look at depressive symptoms
October 22, 2015, LEUVEN, Belgium--
A new study suggests that the current approach to diagnosing depression should be reassessed to reflect how a person’s particular symptoms interconnect. “Depression is a complex, extremely heterogeneous system of interacting symptoms,” lead author Dr Eiko Fried said in a release. “We may want to focus treatment efforts on the symptoms driving a patient’s depression.”
Based on evaluations of 3,463 people, Fried and an international team of researchers created a network of 28 depression symptoms to determine which were most closely related (for example, insomnia may link to fatigue which contributes to difficulty concentrating). Some criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)—used to identify major depression as well as depressive episodes in bipolar disorder—made the list of “most central symptoms.” Others were deemed less important than symptoms which are not in the criteria, including anxiety.