Being depleted and being shaken: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiential features of a first episode of depression

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Smith, Jonathan A. ; Rhodes, J.E. (2014)

- Objectives: This article presents a detailed idiographic analysis of patients' experience of first-episode depression.\ud - Design: This is a qualitative interview study using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).\ud - Methods: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with a purposive sample of seven patients presenting to a mental health service in London, UK with symptoms of first-episode major depression. There were four males and three females; mean age was 44 years. Interviews were audio-recorded and subjected to IPA.\ud - Results: Participants described a significant loss event prior to onset of depression. The depression involved a major diminishing of the life-world with relational, corporeal, and temporal depletion. This depletion was accompanied in each case by occasional extreme emotions, frenzied thoughts, confused sense of self.\ud - Conclusions: Depression can represent a major existential threat to the sufferer. We discuss how our findings can illuminate the extant literature. The study suggests the value of exploring these existential features in early therapy.
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