The authors of this paper do not have any commercial associations that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with this manuscript.
Long-term social functioning after depression treated by psychiatrists: a review
Article first published online: 12 FEB 2007
Volume 9, Issue 1-2, pages 25–37, February & March 2007
How to Cite
Kennedy, N., Foy, K., Sherazi, R., McDonough, M. and McKeon, P. (2007), Long-term social functioning after depression treated by psychiatrists: a review. Bipolar Disorders, 9: 25–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5618.2007.00326.x
- Issue published online: 12 FEB 2007
- Article first published online: 12 FEB 2007
- Received 20 July 2005, revised and accepted for publication 2 February 2006
- clinical outcome;
- functional outcome;
- social functioning
Objectives: Numerous long-term studies of depression in psychiatric settings have shown a poor clinical outcome but little emphasis has been placed on psychosocial or functional outcome in studies to date. This article reviews published data on long-term social functioning after depression and considers why psychosocial recovery appears delayed compared with clinical recovery.
Methods: Searches were carried out of the databases MEDLINE, PSYCHLIT and EMBASE for articles published from 1980 using keywords relating to social and functional outcomes of unipolar and bipolar depression. Review articles and relevant textbooks were also searched.
Results: The few outcome studies published have described long-term functional impairment in the majority of patients but have been limited by methodological shortcomings. Psychosocial impairment tends to persist even after clinical remission from depression. Residual symptomatology after remission from depression may lead to enduring psychosocial impairment, as may subtle neurocognitive deficits. Axis I and II comorbidities predict a poor psychosocial outcome, but episodes of depression do not appear to lead to personality ‘scarring’.
Conclusions: Future outcome studies need to focus on longitudinal social functioning. Full functional recovery after an episode of depression should be the goal of treatment as enduring residual symptoms lead to long-term psychosocial impairment.