Long-term symptomatic and functional outcome following an intensive inpatient multidisciplinary intervention for treatment-resistant affective disorders

Sarah C. Wooderson, Abebaw Fekadu, Kalypso Markopoulou, Lena J. Rane, Lucia Poon, Mario Juruena, Rebecca Strawbridge, Anthony J. Cleare*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The natural history of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is poor, with high rates of chronicity and recurrence. We describe longer-term symptomatic and functional outcome following multimoclal intensive inpatient treatment for TRD.

Methods: Symptomatic and functional outcomes were assessed in 71 participants (unipolar, n=51; bipolar, n=20) with severe TRD previously treated at a specialist inpatient unit a median of 34 months (lQR 19-52) post discharge. We looked at outcomes in defined subgroups (unipolar, bipolar and psychotic) and at symptom clusters to see whether certain aspects of depression were more resistant to treatment than others.

Results: Symptomatic improvement during the admission was maintained at follow up: HDRS21 scores fell from admission (median 22; lQR 19-25) to discharge (median 12; lQR 7-16) and follow-up (median 10; lQR 4-18). Overall, two-thirds of patients were judged to have a good long-term outcome, while half remained in full remission at follow-up. Outcomes were more favourable in bipolar patients, patients without a history of psychosis and patients who were discharged in remission, although a minority of responders at discharge no longer met response criteria at follow up, and conversely some patients discharged as non-responders did subsequently respond. Non-remitting depression was characterised by three main factors; anxiety, cognitive difficulties and sleep disturbance. Those who remitted had better functional outcomes as did those who had experienced a more sustained response to treatment whilst inpatients. Quality of life was poor for those who did not respond to the treatment package.

Limitations: Variable follow-up length.

Conclusions: This difficult-to-treat population gained long-term benefits from multidisciplinary inpatient treatment. Treatment to remission was associated with more favourable outcomes. Non responsive depression was characterised by specific symptom clusters that might be amenable to more targeted treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Specialist treatment
  • Affective disorders
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Long-term outcome
  • Remission
  • Quality of life


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