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Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2004;8(1):61-3. doi: 10.1080/13651500310003868.

Major depression versus dysthymia: Comorbid psychiatric disorders, psychotropic medication patterns, and psychotherapy sessions.

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  • 1Departments of Psychiatry.


The objective of this study was to examine, among those with major depression versus dysthymia, relationships with comorbid psychopathol-ogy, patterns of psychotropic medication prescription, and number of psychotherapy sessions utilized. Using a retrospective approach, a single investigator reviewed the medical records of individuals diagnosed with major depression or dysthymia (those with both disorders were excluded from analysis) in an adult, university-based, outpatient psychiatry clinic. Records were examined for demographic information, Axis I and II diagnoses, number and type of psychotropic medications, and number of psychotherapy sessions. There were no demographic differences between groups. Compared to those with major depression, individuals with dysthymia had a similar number of Axis I diagnoses, but were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with a personality disorder. Those with major depression were prescribed a significantly greater number of psychotropic medications, and all seven patients who received antipsychotics were diagnosed with major depression. Finally, there were no between-group differences in the number of psychotherapy sessions. These data indicate that, compared with major depression, dysthymia may have significantly greater Axis II, but not Axis I, psychiatric comorbidity. The implications of greater psychotropic medication prescription among the subsample with major depression, and similar psychotherapy utilization between groups, is discussed. Qnt] Psych Clin Pract 2004; 8: 61-63).


affective disorders; comorbidity; dysthymic disorder; major depression; personality disorders

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