Nedley Depression Hit Hypothesis: Identifying Depression and Its Causes

Neil Nedley MD, Francisco E. Ramirez, MD First Published November 10, 2014 Review Article

Depression is often diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria. We propose how certain lifestyle choices and non-modifiable factors can predict the development of depression. We identified 10 cause categories (hits or “blows” to the brain) and theorize that four or more active hits could trigger a depression episode. Methods. A sample of 4271 participants from our community-based program (70% female; ages 17-94 years) was assessed at baseline and at the eighth week of the program using a custom test. Ten cause categories were examined as predictors of depression are (1) Genetic, (2)Developmental, (3)Lifestyle, (4)Circadian Rhythm, (5)Addiction, (6)Nutrition, (7)Toxic, (8)Social/Complicated Grief, (9)Medical Condition, and (10)Frontal Lobe. Results. The relationship between the DSM-5 score and a person having four hits categories in the first program week showed a sensitivity of 89.98 % (95% CI: 89.20 % - 90.73%), specificity 48.84% (CI 45.94-51.75) and Matthew Correlation Coefficient (MCC) .41 . For the eight-week test, the results showed a sensitivity 83.6% (CI 81.9-85.5), specificity 53.7% (CI 51.7-55.6) and MCC .38. Overall, the hits that improved the most from baseline after the eighth week were: Nutrition (47%), Frontal lobe (36%), Addiction (24%), Circadian rhythm (24%), Lifestyle (20%), Social (12%) and Medical (10%). Conclusions. The Nedley four-hit hypothesis seems to predict a depressive episode and correlates well with the DSM-5 criteria with good sensitivity and MCC but less specificity. Identifying these factors and applying lifestyle therapies could play an important role in the treatment of depressed individuals.

Review Article