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Jenev Caddell

APA Releases New Depression Treatment Guidelines

By October 1, 2010

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The American Psychiatric Association (not to be confused with the American Psychological Association) has released new treatment guidelines for depression. According to Medscape Today, the guidelines include:

It's worth noting that Reuters reported that first suggestion as follows: "Doctors should use rating scales to assess their patients' conditions and tailor treatment according to the severity of symptoms. They can adjust various strategies such as medication, healthy behaviors, exercise and therapy." This implies that current treatment for depression takes a one-size-fits-all approach, which of course is not at all true. Doctors already tailor treatment to patients. The important part of this recommendation is the use of rating scales for various symptoms.

Going by the DSM-IV guidelines, if you meet more than a certain number of criteria you are diagnosed with depression. The new approach gets rid of the "has depression/doesn't have depression" binary and replaces it with scales that measure the severity of your symptoms. Some of the questions might look like this: How unhappy do you feel on an average day? How often do you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning? How frequently do you think about suicide? Using rating scales like this, doctors can get a much better idea of what sort of treatment will be useful, and can also provide treatment to people who have a few signs of depression but would not be "diagnosable" under the old guidelines.

These guidelines hadn't been updated in over ten years, so I'm glad to see that the APA isn't waiting for the DSM-V to release this very important update that will hopefully improve diagnosis and treatment for many, many people who suffer from depression.

October 20, 2011 at 12:14 am
(1) Ruth Leyse-Wallace PhD,RD says:

Interesting that the list of strategies doesn’t include having an adequate nutritional intake.

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November 11, 2012 at 11:14 am
(7) Dr Deen mohd says:

American Psychological Association is likely confused by American Psychiatric Association but i will prefer they should be same but psychology will provide info only but psychiatry will give info as well as methods and treatment of mental illness

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