Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
Home | About us | Current Issue | Archives | Ahead of Print | Submission | Instructions | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact | Login 
    Users online: 530 Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this article Email this article Bookmark this page


    Advanced search

    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and Me...

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded188    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal


 Table of Contents    
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 476-478
Features of minor depressive disorder subtypes in conditions of COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Psychiatry and Narcology, Tashkent Medical Academy, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission10-Jul-2020
Date of Decision02-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance31-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Sep-2020


Background: The continuous research on minor depressive disorder is one of the pressing issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We studied the features of minor depressive disorder subtypes in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: Sixty-two patients were observed with the administration of clinical follow-up research method.
Results: The following major subtypes of minor depressive disorder were identified: Asthenic, hysterical, hypochondriacal, apathetic, and minor depressive disorder with obsessive–compulsive symptoms.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic lead to an increase in the development of the minor depressive disorder with a predominance of asthenic and obsessive-phobic symptoms. Therapy of minor depressive disorder requires the involvement of a wide range of specialists, preferably with the inclusion of community-based treatment.

Keywords: Anxiety, COVID-19, depression

How to cite this article:
Sultanov S, Khodzhaeva N, Ashurov Z, Lyan Y, Shadmanova L. Features of minor depressive disorder subtypes in conditions of COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62, Suppl S3:476-8

How to cite this URL:
Sultanov S, Khodzhaeva N, Ashurov Z, Lyan Y, Shadmanova L. Features of minor depressive disorder subtypes in conditions of COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Nov 28];62, Suppl S3:476-8. Available from:

   Introduction Top

A minor depressive disorder is a group of maladaptive disorders that includes a wide range of affective disorders, the manifestation of which is associated with the adverse effects of psychosocial stress.[1] Moreover, at present, mental trauma is most commonly associated with extensive worldwide changes the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] Along with psycho-traumatic and situational influences, factors such as constitutional predisposition, the hereditary burden of mental illness, age, cultural characteristics of patients, somatic and mental illnesses are also important for the development of the minor depressive disorder.[3] The continuous research on minor depressive disorder due to psychological trauma is one of the pressing issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

Data from a series of review studies show that less than half of patients with minor depressive disorder receiving treatment in primary care are prescribed adequate doses and type of drugs.[5] Moreover, the data demonstrated that the duration of medication was often <1 month which is clearly insufficient for successful treatment.[6] On the other hand, it is known that one of the main psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is depression and anxiety disorders and the subsequent sharp decrease in the quality of life.[7]

Therefore, currently, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic requires the coverage of aspects of minor depressive disorder, such as general course patterns and various development specificities for a timely and adequate treatment of this disorder.


The aim of this work was to study features of minor depressive disorder subtypes in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

   Materials and Methods Top

Sixty-two patients (34 men and 29 women) were observed, who were hospitalized in the state psychiatric hospital or specialized private clinics during the first half of 2020, as well as patients who received outpatient care in the outpatient care services. The selection criteria were the presence of minor depressive disorder for at least 1 month; maintaining, albeit at a reduced level, professional activity in the absence of signs of social and labor maladaptation and disability.

The age of patients ranged from 23 to 55 years (an average of 31.6 ± 4.6 years). The duration of the minor depressive disorder was from 1 to 2 months. Forty-nine patients were engaged in skilled labor in accordance with their education, 13 patients were unemployed. Various depressive disorders were detected earlier in different periods of life in 14 patients.

This preliminary study was conducted by the clinical follow-up method. All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 (in its most recently amended version). Informed consent was obtained from all patients included in the study.

   Results Top

In all cases, the onset of minor depressive disorder was characterized by a relatively rapid progression and deterioration of patients' condition. Several periods of the development of the disease were identified, taking into account the rate of progression and the characteristics of clinical manifestations: A manifestation of the disease, a period of active course with the development of the main symptoms and a period of stabilization of the disease process with the development of the relatively persistent minor depressive disorder.

The following major subtypes of minor depressive disorder were identified:

  1. Asthenic minor depressive disorder (21 patients). The most frequently occurring symptoms in asthenic minor depressive disorder were: sleep disorders (insomnia, intermittent sleep, early awakening), tearfulness, intensity-varying anxiety, weakness, decreased activity, self-pity, often combined with tendencies to blame others

  2. Manifestations of the disorder included increased exhaustion, decreased activity, complaints of physical impotence, and loss of energy. The social functioning of patients could be maintained but was accompanied by increased exhaustion.

    In cases of more severe depression, complaints of fatigue were present even when performing the usual morning routine (washing, dressing, and combing). There could be signs of irritable weakness and increased sensitivity to external stimuli (loud sounds, bright light, etc.).

    It was noted that in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic such symptoms, as lack of self-esteem and guilt, were not that common. Pessimism was prevalent with a sense of hopelessness, mood decrease, and indifference. The manifestation of the minor depressive disorder mostly coincided with the quarantine regime.

  3. Minor depressive disorder with obsessive–compulsive symptoms was observed in 19 patients, where obsessions were noted in such forms, which were noted earlier in different periods of life. Remarkably, personality abnormalities were detected in these patients in the premorbid period. The content of obsessive thoughts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (to wash hands more often, to always wear a mask) retained psychological adequacy. Thus, the development mechanism of the obsessions included a direct link with the psychological effects of quarantine. In this group of patients, a minor depressive disorder with anxiety-phobic manifestations should be especially noted. Phobias were based on fear of an external threat: The penetration of pathogenic viruses into the body. Phobias of an external threat were accompanied by protective obsessive actions (complex manipulations that prevent contact with contaminated objects, thorough processing or disinfection of clothing that was in contact with dust throughout the day). In order to avoid potential dangers, patients did not communicate with family members and felt safe only within their own room

  4. Obsessive assumptions about a viral disease led to unnecessary examinations by various medical specialists, as well as obsessive feelings of corona virus damage (cough, nasal discharge, fever, followed by its repeated measurement). Even transient pain could be perceived as a sign of coronavirus.

  5. Hysterical minor depressive disorder (7 patients). This subtype of minor depressive disorder is derived from initial emotional instability, anxiety, and sensitivity to interpersonal relationships. The tendency to exaggerate their own suffering was noteworthy

  6. Thoughts about the pandemic were mostly representations with vivid reproduction of mourning ceremonies, scenes of funerals, partings, and were accompanied by tearfulness and mood decrease. The desire to draw the attention of others to their grief was often accompanied by demonstrative auto-aggressive behavior (surface cuts, scratches, etc.,) with threats to commit suicide. The prevalence of exploitative behavior with a demonstration of their suffering and attempts to manipulate others had the goal of subordinating their own interests.

    Hysterical disorders in most cases were already clearly expressed from childhood or formed in crisis periods, manifesting in hysterical reactions associated with psychological trauma. Hysterical manifestations were distinguished by intense emotionality, monotony, and pronounced phenomena of egocentrism.

  7. Hypochondriacal minor depressive disorder (10 patients). Hypothymia was combined with anxiety for one's health, hypochondriacal phobias, and various somatic complaints. The hypochondriacal minor depressive disorder includes a pessimistic perception of an imaginary disease (coronavirus pneumonia) and a hypertrophic assessment of its effects. Thoughts about the dangers of disturbances in the activity of internal organs prevailed with fear of unfavorable outcomes of imaginary disease, negative social consequences, and the futility of treatment. Such depressive disorders are more likely to occur in primary care, and according to various estimates, from 1/3 to 2/3 of all patients observed by general practitioners, suffer from a hypochondriacal minor depressive disorder. Pain, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, blood pressure fluctuations often mask mood disorder in these cases
  8. Apathetic minor depressive disorder (5 patients) is characterized by a predominance of the phenomena of negative affectivity. The apathetic psychological status was deprived of expressiveness and was associated with the impoverishment of facial expressions, the monotony of speech, slowness of movements, that in several cases reached the level of pronounced akinesia. The minor depressive disorder manifested with a sudden sense of detachment from all previous desires and involvement in life events, indifference to the whole environment, lack of interest in the results of one's activity. Overall, stiffness in the muscles and impotence were clearly combined with a lack of motivation and desire.

   Discussion Top

Based on the duration criterion, we identified two types of minor depressive disorder: Short-term (not more than 1 month) and prolonged (1–2 months). A short-term (acute) minor depressive disorder was most often directly related to the sudden impact of an individually significant mental trauma. Prolonged minor depressive disorder more often occurred in connection with a long stressful situation, usually associated with prolonged quarantine. The spectrum of clinical manifestations in the latter case was much wider than with short-term minor depressive disorder.

   Conclusions Top

The COVID-19 pandemic leads to an increase in the occurrence of the minor depressive disorder, usually prolonged, with a predominance of asthenic and obsessive-phobic symptoms. Therapy of minor depressive disorder requires the involvement of a wide range of specialists, preferably with the inclusion of community-based treatment.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Have MT, Penninx BW, Tuithof M, Van Dorsselaer S, Kleinjan M, Spijker J, et al. Duration of major and minor depressive episodes and associated risk indicators in a psychiatric epidemiological cohort study of the general population. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2017;136:300-12.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, Tan Y, Xu L, Ho CS, et al. Immediate psychological responses and associated factors during the initial stage of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic among the general population in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:1729.  Back to cited text no. 2
Corfield EC, Yang Y, Martin NG, Nyholt DR. A continuum of genetic liability for minor and major depression. Transl Psychiatry 2017;7:E1131.  Back to cited text no. 3
Holmes EA, O'Connor RC, Perry VH, Tracey I, Wessely S, Arseneault L, et al. Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: A call for action for mental health science. Lancet Psychiatry 2020;7:547-60.  Back to cited text no. 4
Gonzalez HM, Vega WA, Williams DR. Depression care in the United States: Too little for too few. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2010;67:37-46.  Back to cited text no. 5
MacQueen G, Santaguida P, Keshavarz H, Jaworska N, Levine M, Beyene J, et al. Systematic review of clinical practice guidelines for failed antidepressant treatment response in major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and subthreshold depression in adults. Can J Psychiatry 2017;62:11-23.  Back to cited text no. 6
Roy D, Tripathy S, Kar SK, Sharma N, Verma SK, Kaushal V. Study of knowledge, attitude, anxiety &amp; perceived mental healthcare need in Indian population during COVID-19 pandemic. Asian J Psychiatr 2020;51:102083.  Back to cited text no. 7

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shokhrukh Sultanov
Department of Psychiatry and Narcology, Tashkent Medical Academy, Tashkent
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_847_20

Rights and Permissions

This article has been cited by
1 Do we experience pandemic fatigue? current state, predictors, and prevention
Abdulkadir Haktanir, Nesime Can, Tolga Seki, M. Furkan Kurnaz, Bülent Dilmaç
Current Psychology. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]