Prevention of Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Edited by Dwight L. Evans, Edna B. Foa, Raquel E. Gur, Herbert Hendin, Charles P. O'Brien, Martin E.P. Seligman and B. Timothy Walsh

in Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195173642
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951024 | DOI:

Series: Adolescent Mental Health Initiative

 Prevention of Depression and Bipolar Disorder

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The prevention of an individual's first episode of depression is worthy of greater study among investigators concerned with mood disorders. Not only is the first episode devastating for individuals and those around them but it is a major burden within our health system and society. Once the first episode of major depressive disorder (MDD) occurs, the sequelae are substantial. Following an episode of MDD, the probability of subsequent episodes is significantly increased, even to the point that many now consider MDD to be a chronic disease. The sequelae to MDD are numerous and include poorer social relationships, increased substance abuse, increased use of medical services, interference with long-term cognitive functioning, significant comorbidity with major health problems, and younger ages of death (even when deaths by suicide are taken into account). Most investigators of mood disorders believe that the first episode lays down neural pathways that are difficult to overcome and, without modification via medications or psychosocial interventions or their combination, are likely to be lasting pathways that impact individuals' lives. Even though prevention of MDD is an important topic, empirical work in this area is difficult and has been slow to progress. Some recent work has been conducted on the prevention of second and subsequent episodes, but the work designed to prevent the first episode of MDD has been meager. Before addressing the empirical work on prevention of MDD, it is important to note again the conceptual and historical context in which general prevention research has been defined.

Chapter.  7451 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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