What are available practice guidelines for depression / major depressive disorder?

There are numerous practice guidelines available for major depressive disorder. While no practice guidelines are a substitute for the clinical judgement and decision making of your clinician, they can offer useful information and serve as a good reference. Many cover topics like selection and use of antidepressant medications as well as therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, problem solving therapy, and many others. They also may offer information on the role of peer support, exercise, diet, and other important elements of care. It is important to note that your treatment may often not be the same as recommended in a guideline for several reasons including the fact that many guidelines are not updated to reflect the newest evidence, the need to personalize your care to your unique needs, and the clinical experience of your clinician. You can read several guidelines that CSS-SMI has assembled including including ones from American Psychiatric Association as well as a briefer summary of those same guidelines, one from a commercial insurer, one from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, one from the Veterans Administration (VA), one from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, one from the American College of Physicians, and another from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health. Of note, these are offered as references and we do not endorse any one guideline, but instead recommend you discuss your personal treatment with your clinical team.

U.S. Guidelines

Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With Major Depressive Disorder, Third Edition (APA, published 2015)

Treating Major Depressive Disorder: A Quick Reference Guide (APA, published 2010)

Introduction to Magellan’s Adopted Clinical Practice Guideline For the Assessment and Treatment of Patients With Major Depressive Disorder (Magellan Healthcare, published 2017)

Adult Depression in Primary Care (Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, published 2016)

Clinical Practice Review for Major Depressive Disorder (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, published 2016)

Nonpharmacologic Versus Pharmacologic Treatment of Adult Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians (Annals of Internal Medicine, published 2016)

VA/DoD: Management of Major Depressive Disorder (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, published 2016)

International Guidelines

Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care: Recommendations on screening for depression in adults (Canadian Medical Association Journal, published 2013)

Clinical Practice Guideline on the Management of Depression in Adults (GuíaSalud, published 2008)

Evidence-based guidelines for treating depressive disorders with antidepressants: A revision of the 2008 British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines (Journal of Psychopharmacology, published 2015)

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