Target Zero to Thrive FAQ
DBSA works hard to ensure that the voices of those living with and affected by mood disorders are heard concerning all issues related to mental health. Thank you all for the wonderful feedback you given us on Target Zero to Thrive. We thought you would appreciate more background on why the program was developed.
Why did DBSA launch the Target Zero to Thrive campaign?
Total remission, zero symptoms, is rarely the end goal today for mental health treatment as it is in other health conditions. Rather, we hear clinical terms for mental health treatment goals like “measurable improvement,” and/or “stable.” Not wellness. Not thriving lives. DBSA is partnering with you to start a dialogue within the clinical, research, and peer communities about raising expectations for the clinical treatment of mood disorders.
DBSA believes we and our peers deserve the chance to thrive, so we’re asking
You may also want to listen to the TZ2T podcast featuring DBSA Scientific Advisory Board members, Dr. Gregory Simon and Dr. Joseph Calabrese, discussing current treatment options for mood disorders and the need within the clinical and patient communities to shift expectations and raise treatment goals to complete remission of symptoms and sustained wellness.
Why is DBSA specifically targeting zero symptoms?
The cost of settling for reduced symptoms is simply too great—because when symptoms persist, individuals who have mood disorders are
Statistic citations for the above four points can be found at www.DBSAlliance.org/TargetZero.
Is DBSA saying that the only measurement of wellness is zero symptoms? That I can’t be well and have some residual symptoms?
No. Wellness is different for each person. Many people live full lives even though they still experience some problematic symptoms. But, we do believe that the closer we get to complete remission of symptoms, the easier it will be for people to live in wellness and the less likely it will be for people to be vulnerable to relapse, functional impairment, life threatening physical conditions, and suicide.
Doesn’t DBSA think achieving zero symptoms is an unrealistic goal?
Yes. Well, a qualified yes. Today, achieving zero symptoms is unfortunately unrealistic for many, though not all, individuals living with mood disorders. If you don’t have a treatment team that believes wellness is possible; if you do but time and other limitations prevent that team from working with you towards that goal; if treatment options (of all kinds) aren’t available for you to go beyond “measurable improvement”; if you aren’t given the hope that wellness is possible—then achieving zero symptoms can be an uphill battle.
That is why DBSA has initiated this campaign. To start the conversation about how we collectively (clinicians, researchers, people living with and affected by mood disorders) can work to change this. And to discuss how we can use the tools that do exist today to get us closer while we work towards that change—because while achieving zero symptoms today might be unrealistic for many, thankfully achieving wellness, as defined by a full and extraordinary life, is not unrealistic. The journey is not easy, but wellness—however you define it—is possible! In fact, although the road is often hard and long, many, many people living with mood disorders do find treatments that work well, support to help them when they need encouragement or assistance, and personal strategies to help them lead full and extraordinary lives! We simply believe that the closer we get to zero symptoms, the easier the journey will be and the more likely wellness will be a reality for more people.
DBSA honors every person’s unique journey to wellness and looks to our peers to inspire us, to give us hope along the way that life need not be limited by a diagnosis. Looking for a little inspiration? To read stories from peers living extraordinary lives, visit our Life Unlimited page.
Is DBSA saying that I have failed if I don’t achieve zero symptoms?
No. Target Zero to Thrive is about raising the expectation of clinicians, researchers, and peers for the treatment goals of mood disorder. In other words, to say let's not consider treatment "done" when a person is no longer suicidal, or stable. Let's continue to work together to help a person reach as full a life as possible. That ultimately may indeed mean that symptoms persist—and that would not be a personal failure. As DBSA President Allen Doederlein shares, "If a person doesn't achieve zero symptoms, they haven't failed, but if they are never given the opportunity to achieve that goal, the system has failed them."
How can I even consider thriving when I’m still struggling to survive?
DBSA President Allen Doederlein shared his perspective on this in his note in DBSA’s March eUpdate newsletter as copied below.
After April the hard work begins! We’re asking
It is DBSA’s sincere hope that starting this dialogue about raising expectations for clinical treatment goals as highlighted by Target Zero to Thrive is just that—a start.
So let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s try to get this topic on the agenda of major mental health conferences where clinicians, researchers, and those living with and affected by mood disorders can explore this further—and work together to find opportunities for meaningful change.
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