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J Trauma Dissociation. 2013;14(4):423-38. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2012.753654.

Dissociative depression among women in the community.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey. vsar@istanbul.edu.tr

Abstract

This study screened the prevalence and correlates of dissociative disorders among depressive women in the general population. The Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule and the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder sections of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV were administered to 628 women in 500 homes. The prevalence of current major depressive episode was 10.0%. Of the women, 26 (40.6%) had the lifetime diagnosis of a DSM-IV, dissociative disorder, yielding a prevalence of 4.1% for dissociative depression. This group was younger (mean age = 30.7 years) than the nondissociative depression women (mean age = 39.6 years). There was no difference between the 2 groups on comorbid somatization disorder, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder. Besides suicide attempts, the dissociative group was characterized by secondary features of dissociative identity disorder; Schneiderian symptoms; borderline personality disorder criteria; and extrasensory perceptions, including possession experiences. They reported suicidality, thoughts of guilt and worthlessness, diminished concentration and indecisiveness, and appetite and weight changes more frequently than the nondissociative group. Early cessation of school education and childhood sexual abuse were frequently reported by the dissociative depression group. With its distinct features, the concept of dissociative depression may facilitate understanding of treatment resistance in, development of better psychotherapy strategies for, and new thinking on the neurobiology and pharmacotherapy of depressive disorders.

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