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Recovery in Major Depressive Disorder:  Analysis With the Life Table and Regression Models

Martin B. Keller, MD; Robert W. Shapiro, MD; Philip W. Lavori, PhD; Nicola Wolfe
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(8):905-910. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290080025004.
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• Regression models and life tables were used to describe the phenomenon of recovery from major depressive disorder for 101 patients in a naturalistic study in which treatment was not controlled by the investigators. Time to recovery from the onset of the episode was protracted, as only about 50% of patients recovered by one year. Annual rates of recovery then declined steadily to 28% in the second year, 22% in the third year, and 18% in the fourth year. In contrast, speed of recovery from entry into the study was more rapid, and 63% of patients recovered by four months. The recovery rates were about 20% each month for the first four months and then declined sharply for the remaining months of the one-year follow-up. Several clinical variables were statistically significant predictors of recovery when measured from entry into the study: superimposition of the acute episode on a chronic underlying depression, acuteness of onset of the depression, and severity of depression for the subgroup of patients without superimposed illness.

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