MDD: Treating the Patient, Not Just the Disorder
Following his Psych Congress 2022 session "Symptom Management Or Symptom Elimination? What Should Be Goal Of Treatment Of Depression In Real World Clinical Practice," Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of the Partial Hospital Program and Outpatient Practice at Rhode Island Hospital and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, discussed why treating symptoms when working with patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) may not lead to desired treatment outcomes.
Dr Zimmerman explores why it's necessary to consider the "full array" of problems patients face during treatment and why "a physician treats the disease, but a great physician treats a patient with the disease."
Mark Zimmerman, MD, is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and director of the Partial Hospital Program and Outpatient Practice at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr Zimmerman received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his medical degree from Chicago Medical School. He completed his postgraduate training at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and held an academic appointment as an assistant professor at the same time he was a resident in psychiatry.
Dr Zimmerman is principal investigator of the Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project.
Read the transcript:
This focus on treating the person and not just treating symptoms is not limited to major depressive disorder. First of all, probably the majority of individuals that we treat with depression don't just have depression, they have comorbid disorders. And many individuals with other principal diagnoses, such as anxiety disorders or stress- and trauma-related disorders or substance use disorders or eating disorders or personality disorders, have depression as a comorbid condition. You need to consider the full array of problems that individuals are presenting with and you don't want to limit yourself to just focusing on symptoms but evaluate how the symptoms that an individual is experiencing is impacting on how the person is functioning in the world. In some sense, the bottom line message of what I'm talking about can hearken back to the great William Osler who once was quoted as saying, "A physician treats the disease, a great physician treats a patient with the disease."