Effects of Dietary Patterns on Clinically-Depressed Female Individuals: A Case Study

  • Ram A. Martinez
  • Gaddiel N. Puzon


Depressive disorders impose a significant health and economic burden in developing countries.  MDD (major depressive disorder) and dysthymic disorder are the most commonly diagnosed forms of depression.  Its symptoms include but not limited to increased sadness and anxiety, shifting mood, loss of interest in pleasurable activities while dysthymic disorder presents a milder version of MDD. Growing evidence in recent years suggests a complex relationship between diet and depression.  Diet may have impact on the course and development of depression and cases of depression, in turn may develop unhealthy dietary pattern. MDD is considered to be a leading cause of disease-related disability among women. With prevalence estimates ranging between 3.3-3.4% in developing countries alone, globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, in fact the global burden of depression is now a major public health concern.

Two female only respondents with different dietary patterns: vegetarian and omnivore were purposively recruited in consultation with a psychiatrist using inclusion criteria.  Extraction of data from interview transcripts were coded and a second cycle coding was also used.  The study did not delve into the psychological causes of depression but rather focused only on how dietary quality affect depression in its frequency and intensity of episodes. A semi-structured interview schedule was prepared to gather focused qualitative data as the intention was to get respondents to talk in their own terms while a questionnaire for depression scoring and interpretation tool was used. A modified-PHQ-9 (patient health questionnaire) based on the FFQ (food frequency questionnaire) was utilized to screen depression episodes of respondents.