Italian psychiatrists' perception on cognitive symptoms in major depressive disorder.Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2016; 20(1):2-9.IJ
Differently than Schizophrenia, the investigation of cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD) attracted the interest of research only recently. Therefore, it is worth understanding clinicians' perception about cognitive dysfunction in MDD and raising awareness about this issue.
Between December 2014 and January 2015, 128 Italian psychiatrists participated in an on-line survey aiming at understanding psychiatrists' perception about cognitive symptoms in MDD. The questionnaire comprised three sections: the first investigating psychiatrists' socio-demographic profile, the second assessing cognitive symptoms relevance without mentioning that they represented the study focus and the third explicitly investigating cognitive symptoms.
Cognitive symptoms were considered as a relevant dimension of MDD and appeared among the most frequently cited residual symptoms influencing patients' work and relapse risk. About 70% of psychiatrists declared that cognitive symptoms significantly influence antidepressant choice. However, in the second questionnaire section cognitive symptoms appeared less frequently considered for antidepressant choice.
Results revealed a clear understanding of cognitive symptoms relevance in MDD. Nevertheless, the discrepancy between psychiatrists' perception and their therapeutical choices underlines the presence of an unmet-need that should be addressed increasing the awareness about the positive effects on cognitive symptoms of existing drugs, which could allow a more symptom-oriented therapeutical intervention. Key points Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common mental disorder often associated with deficits in cognitive function. Psychiatrists considered cognitive symptoms among the most relevant residual symptoms in MDD patients that compromise patients working and influence the relapse risk. The importance given to residual cognitive symptoms seemed not to be reflected by psychiatrists' therapeutical choice. There is a gap between what psychiatrists know and what psychiatrists apply to their clinical practice reflecting the feeling of a therapeutical unmet need.