Quality of Life

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Quality of life in MDD

MDD profoundly affects the individual, their family and wider society, with effects across quality of life domains including mental health, relationships, functioning, and engagement with activities of daily living.[1]

“When you have mental illness things that happen around you hit you harder... it hits us harder, it all hits us so much harder, such small things as not being asked if you’d like a coffee, so mundane as that can hit you really hard on some of the tough days”
Patient quote, adapted from Barney et al, 2011*[2]

Several studies have established the overall burden of MDD.[3] In one 12-month prospective study, patients with MDD had a nearly 5-times greater risk of disability compared to asymptomatic individuals.[4]

The impact of MDD on daily life is illustrated by one survey conducted on Italian patients and family members.[5] Please refer back to 'Symptoms of MDD' in the 'About Major Depressive Disorder' section for further information.

“Why do I feel so alone? Is it just me or is it just because I have to deal with this horrible illness that is slowly eating away at me from the inside and is slowly taking a hold of me and I feel it will not let go”
Patient quote, adapted from Barney et al, 2011*[2]

Factors associated with diminished quality of life in MDD

A longitudinal quality of life study in over 1,000 patients with MDD from France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK reported:[6]

Severely impaired SF-12 mental health score (MCS) in MDD patients compared to other common chronic diseases (MCS 26.5 vs. 50)

A strong association between patient-assessed depression severity (PHQ-9) and quality of life impairment (p<0.001 for SF-12 MCS)

Other studies have found additional detrimental effects on quality of life, functioning, and cost among patients with MDD, associated with:

• Chronic comorbid conditions[7]
• Comorbid psychiatric conditions[8]
• Increasing age[8][9]
• Increased symptom severity[9]

“I have to be careful, as I can suddenly slip into depression for no apparent reason and stay locked that way for weeks”
Patient quote, adapted from Barney et al, 2011*[2]
“I was wondering how other people out there cope with work on a day-to-day basis? ...sometimes it seems impossible to function ‘normally’ as I don’t want the wrong people to find out for fear of discrimination”
Patient quote, adapted from Barney et al, 2011*[2]

If you are a healthcare professional and would like to find out more about MDD:

* Quote is adapted from a comprehensive examination of the reported problems and or the questions asked by users of an online depression support forum.[2]


MCS, mental component summary score. MDD, Major depressive disorder. PHQ-9, Patient Health Questionnaire-9. SF-12, 12-Item Short Form Survey.