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Editorial  |   March 2004
Editor's Message
Author Notes
  • Dr Baron is currently chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. 
Article Information
Psychiatry
Editorial   |   March 2004
Editor's Message
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2004, Vol. 104, S1. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2004, Vol. 104, S1. doi:
The articles presented in this supplement of the JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association were developed from a symposium, “Remission: Treating Depression and Anxiety for Maximal Functional Outcomes,” held at the 108th Annual AOA Convention and Scientific Seminar. This is an important topic for all physicians, particularly family physicians. According to the US Surgeon General's Report on the overall burden of disease, mental illness accounts for more than 15% of overall disease burden and is second only to cardiovascular disease. As measured by Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)—years lost to premature death and years lived with a disability—mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse account for the highest percentage of total DALYs (more than cardiovascular disease). In the United States, depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental diseases, with depression alone costing the economy nearly $44 billion annually.1 
One of the problems encountered in accurately diagnosing and treating depressive and anxiety syndromes is that these are both common mood states experienced by everyone at some time in their life. Differentiating sadness and transient anxiety from a syndromal psychopathologic condition can be challenging. From the physician's perspective, when and how to treat patients having mood and anxiety symptoms is the critical question. Left untreated, these illnesses affect more than how a patient feels and acts; research has demonstrated that the syndromes may have a potentially negative effect on immune functioning.2 The goal of treatment therefore should not be limited to improvement of symptoms, but rather to remission of symptoms. 
The two articles in this supplement provide an overview of these important clinical syndromes and scientific justification for treatment aimed at remission. As osteopathic physicians, we were trained to treat patients, not merely diseased or dysfunctional body systems. Emotional pain and suffering are biopsychosocial phenomena that must be aggressively addressed to achieve remission from any form of pathologic process. I hope these well-written articles are beneficial to you in your efforts to successfully treat patients. 
National Institute of Mental Health. The effects of depression in the workplace. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/workplace.cfm. Accessed March 2, 2004.
Baron DA. Introduction to Psychoneuroimmunology. In: Ward RC, ed. Foundations for Osteopathic Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2003 .