Functional Recovery in Major Depressive Disorder: Providing Early Optimal Treatment for the Individual Patient
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Major depressive disorder is an often chronic and recurring illness. Left untreated, major depressive disorder may result in progressive alterations in brain morphometry and circuit function. Recent findings, however, suggest that pharmacotherapy may halt and possibly reverse those effects. These findings, together with evidence that a delay in treatment is associated with poorer clinical outcomes, underscore the urgency of rapidly treating depression to full recovery. Early optimized treatment, using measurement-based care and customizing treatment to the individual patient, may afford the best possible outcomes for each patient. The aim of this article is to present recommendations for using a patient-centered approach to rapidly provide optimal pharmacological treatment to patients with major depressive disorder. Offering major depressive disorder treatment determined by individual patient characteristics (e.g., predominant symptoms, medical history, comorbidities), patient preferences and expectations, and, critically, their own definition of wellness provides the best opportunity for full functional recovery.
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