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Differences in clinical presentations of patients seeking care for treatment-resistant depression across sexual orientations and gender identities.

BACKGROUND: Sexual and/or gender minority (SGM) individuals experience higher rates and greater severity of depressive disorders than non-SGM persons. SGM individuals are more likely than non-SGM individuals to seek mental health treatment and to present to treatment with unique characteristics that should be accounted for when considering treatment recommendations. Patients seeking care for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) are offered a variety of evidence-based interventions ranging in modality and invasiveness (eg, psychotherapy and neuromodulation).

METHODS: The current study used data from a TRD clinical research program to examine whether SGM (N = 52) and non-SGM (N = 202) patients differed in their clinical presentations and the treatment recommendations offered to them.

RESULTS: We found that SGM patients were younger, had a more severe history of childhood trauma, and reported greater current suicidality than non-SGM patients. There were no significant differences in treatment recommendations between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to nascent literature investigating clinical characteristics of SGM populations seeking mental health care and provides foundational evidence for the unique treatment considerations necessary for SGM individuals seeking treatment for TRD. Research into whether treatment outcomes differ for SGM and non-SGM individuals with TRD is encouraged, given clinical differences in trauma history and suicidality.

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