Intended for healthcare professionals


Depression should be managed like a chronic disease: What exactly is “depression”?

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 11 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1154
  1. Derek A Summerfield (, honorary senior lecturer
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London SE5 8AP

    EDITOR—Scott implies that depression is always a timeless, free-standing, internally coherent, universally valid, pathological entity with a life of its own out there.1 Classification systems (generally called international but in fact merely Western) provide definitions which seem to assume this. However, disclaimers in small print say in effect that diagnostic categories are not facts of nature …

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