La Study Finds Mild Depression in One out of Nine Residents

By 1996, Los Angeles Times | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

La Study Finds Mild Depression in One out of Nine Residents


1996, Los Angeles Times, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


One out of nine Los Angeles residents endures mild depression that is pronounced enough to affect their jobs and families, according to a study of a newly recognized malaise that falls in the diagnostic gray zone between having a clinical disorder and having a bad day.

The survey of 2,393 adults was part of an ongoing national study to gauge how many people feel depressed and yet would not be considered to have major depression. The work focuses on an experimental and controversial category in the psychological menu of misery known as "subsyndromal depression."

The new study is a "significant contribution to understanding mood disorders," said Dr. Victor Reus, a psychiatrist at the medical school at the University of California in San Francisco. It shows that "the categories we've had so far don't include all the individuals who have been suffering from depressive symptoms," he said. Currently, psychiatrists diagnose people as depressed if, for no obvious reason such as a loved one's death, they experience at least five of nine general symptoms for two weeks: deep sadness, apathy, fatigue, agitation, sleep disturbances, weight or appetite change, lack of concentration, worthlessness and morbid thoughts. Subsyndromal depression, or SSD, the researchers say, is a milder version, marked by the otherwise inexplicable appearance of two to four of those symptoms for two weeks. …

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