Indexed on: 08 Jan '11Published on: 08 Jan '11Published in: L'Encéphale
The persistence of residual symptoms after treatment of a major depressive episode is found in approximately a third of all cases. Definitions of partial remission of a major depressive episode with residual symptoms are either criteriologic, like the DSM, which require a defined number of symptoms with functional effect ; or quantitative, with a score localized in a defined range on a depression evaluation scale. The persistence of residual symptoms following a major depressive episode and the risk of a new episode are closely linked as outlined in guidelines created by expert groups and savant societies as well as clinical studies done in this field. Among the risk factors to predict further depressive episodes, the weight of persisting residual symptoms may be higher than the number of previous depressive episodes. In case of residual symptoms, the therapeutic proposals rely on pharmacological or psychotherapeutic tools are essentially of two types: nonspecific potentialization of previous antidepressive treatments or additional treatment specifically targeting each patients residual symptoms. A strong consensus exists on necessity of maintaining the therapeutic efforts until disappearance of residual symptoms, this objective must be pursued in a definite and continuous way by the practitioner.