Italian patients with more recent onset of Major Depressive Disorder have a shorter duration of untreated illness

Bernardo Dell'Osso, Laura Cremaschi, Benedetta Grancini, Francesca De Cagna, Beatrice Benatti, Giulia Camuri, Chiara Arici, Cristina Dobrea, Lucio Oldani, Maria Carlotta Palazzo, Matteo Vismara, A. Carlo Altamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Previous investigation on the duration of untreated illness (DUI) in patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) revealed a different latency to first antidepressant treatment, with adverse consequences in terms of outcome for individuals with a longer DUI. Recent reports, moreover, documented a reduced DUI, as observed with the passage of time, in patients with different psychiatric disorders. Hence, the present study was aimed to assess DUI and related variables in a sample of Italian patients with MDD as well as to investigate potential differences in subjects with onset before and after 2000. Methods: An overall sample of 188 patients with MDD was assessed through a specific questionnaire investigating DUI and other variables related to the psychopathological onset and latency to first antidepressant treatment, after dividing them in two different subgroups on the basis of their epoch of onset. Results: The whole sample showed a mean DUI of approximately 4.5 years, with patients with more recent onset showing a significantly shorter latency to treatment compared with the other group (27.1±42.6 vs 75.8±105.2 months, P<.05). Other significant differences emerged between the two subgroups, in terms of rates of onset-related stressful events and benzodiazepine prescription, respectively, higher and lower in patients with more recent onset. Conclusions: Our findings indicate a significant DUI reduction in MDD patients whose onset occurred after vs before 2000, along with other relevant differences in terms of onset-related correlates and first pharmacotherapy. Further studies with larger samples are warranted to confirm the present findings in Italy and other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12926
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • duration of untreated illness (DUI)
  • epoch of onset
  • Major Depressive Disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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