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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 11, 957 - 963

Short report

Staging and profiling of unipolar depression

F.P.M.L. Peeters, H.G. Ruhé, A.T.F. Beekman, J. Spijker, R. Schoevers, F. Zitman, A. Schene

background Not only is the heterogeneous concept of depression too comprehensive, it is also insufficiently differentiated. This serves as a barrier to scientific research and obscures the symptoms that should indicate what treatment is required.
aim To describe an accurate model for staging and profiling depression.
method We placed depressive disorders in the context of the entire course of the disorder and we regarded the course as a continuum of psychopathology.
results First of all we distinguish five stages: (1) the prodromal phase, (2) the first depressive episode, (3) residual symptoms following an episode, (4) the relapse episode and (5) the chronic and/or treatment-resistant depression. The higher the stage, the greater the need for complex and specialised treatment. As characteristics for profiling we distinguish (a) aetiological and pathophysiological variables and (b) clinical factors. The latter are the ones that mainly influence treatment from stage 2 onwards.
conclusion In our article we give a tentative overview of possible characteristics for profiling. At the moment the clinical factors are the ones used most for assessment. Current research into the value of aetiological characteristics for profiling will increase the applicability of a staging and profiling model.

keywords aetiology, classification, major depressive disorder, profiling, staging, treatment