What are residual symptoms?

Patients attend their psychiatrist with a list of usually unpleasant symptoms. The psychiatrist prescribes a treatment. Some of the patient’s symptoms resolve: i.e. get better. However, some symptoms may remain. It is these remaining symptoms that are termed “residual symptoms”. While a person’s depression may be much better, if they are experiencing residual symptoms, this can affect how well they manage in, and the quality of, their day to day life. Residual symptoms also increase the risk that an episode of depression may reoccur. It is therefore important to try and reduce residual symptoms as much as possible. Sometimes, unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

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