Objective: The rate of depressive symptoms early in the course of schizophrenia was determined.
Method: Seventy subjects with recent-onset schizophrenia were followed for 5 years by using semistructured interview instruments. The initial assessment included ratings of each criterion A symptom of a DSM-III-R major depressive episode. The rates of symptoms experienced with at least moderate severity were calculated, and an algorithm based on DSM identified subjects meeting the criteria for a major depressive episode.
Results: Four symptoms were present to at least a moderate degree in a majority of subjects, while no symptom was present in fewer than 12% of subjects. More than one-third of the subjects met the algorithmic criteria for a major depressive episode at the time of intake.
Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are common early in the course of schizophrenia. This finding is consistent with other recent data and has potential implications for current diagnostic and treatment practices.