Redefining Therapeutic Outcomes of Depression Treatment
Responses to evidence-based interventions for depression are divergent: Some patients benefit more than others during treatment and some do not benefit at all or even deteriorate. Tailoring interventions to the individual may improve outcomes. However, such personalization of evidence-based treatment in depression requires investigation of individual outcomes and the individual trajectories towards these outcomes. This theoretical paper provides a critical reflection on individual outcomes of depression treatment. First, it is argued that outcomes should be broadened, from a focus on mainly depressive symptomatology to recovery in different domains. It is acknowledged that recovery from depression reflects a personal journey that differs from person to person. Second, outcome measures should be lengthened beyond the acute treatment phase, taking a lifetime perspective on depression. The challenge then is to discover which trajectories of what measures during what interventions result in personalized sustainable recovery and for whom. Routine outcome monitoring systems may be used to inform this quest towards assessment of personalized sustainable therapeutic outcomes. Adaptations to broaden and lengthen measurements in routine outcome monitoring systems are proposed to identify predictors of personalized sustainable recovery. Routine outcome monitoring systems may eventually be used to implement personalized treatments for depression that result in personalized sustainable recovery.
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