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A Tool to Assess Depression Remission

A Tool to Assess Depression Remission

For many years, the standard tool for monitoring depression has been the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and it has been useful when starting patients on treatment and determining their response to therapy. Patients receive scores ranging from 0 (no depression) to 27 (severe depression). A score ranging between 10 and 14 indicates moderate depression. Clinical experience, however, has shown that once patients reach scores of about 10 on the PHQ-9, the tool becomes less useful. Typically, a score of 10 would trigger clinicians to continue recommending medication use. Some individuals with this score report that they are feeling better, are back to their daily routines, and feel like their mood has improved. Others with a score of around 5 on the PHQ-9—indicating that their depression has resolved—say they aren’t feeling like their normal selves. Assessment of other depression symptoms may be necessary to further flesh out what patients consider as being back to normal. A Tool to Assess Depression Remission My colleagues and I recently developed the Remission Evaluation and Mood Inventory Tool (REMIT). This tool can be used to ask patients with PHQ-9 scores of 12 and under an additional five questions that go beyond the PHQ-9. Specifically, patients are asked how often, over the previous 2 weeks, they felt: Happy Content In control of their emotions That they could bounce back when things went wrong That the future seemed dark In a study published in the May/June 2011 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry, my colleagues and I recruited 1,000 patients to test REMIT. Our tool appeared to add to our ability to determine which patients were...
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