Objective: The authors' goal was to investigate the treatment received before receipt of a disability pension for major depression in a representative sample of depressed patients.
Method: The medical statements for a random sample of 277 subjects drawn from the Disability Pension Register of the Social Insurance Institution were examined. The subjects selected represented individuals in Finland who were granted a disability pension because of DSM-III-R major depression during a 12-month period in 1993-1994.
Results: For 254 (92%) of the subjects, the statements regarding pension eligibility were written either by a psychiatrist or a psychiatric resident for patients who were currently being treated in psychiatric settings. There was an additional diagnosis of a comorbid mental disorder or a somatic disease contributing to disability in two-thirds of the statements. Overall, the statements indicated that 242 (87%) of the subjects were prescribed antidepressant medication, but only 24 (9%) received weekly psychotherapy, and only 11 (4%) received ECT.
Conclusions: Most subjects granted a disability pension for major depression in Finland have comorbid mental or physical disorders contributing to their disability. Before receiving their pension, most received antidepressant treatment, but few received the established nonpharmacological treatments.