NICE guideline offers menu of treatment options for depression

  • Date: 30 November 2021

A MENU of treatment options should be offered to patients with depression, in discussion with their healthcare professional, says NICE in new draft guidance.

The new NICE guideline to identify, treat and manage depression in adults is the first published in 12 years. The guideline committee looked at evidence on the treatment of new depressive episodes, chronic depression, preventing relapse, patient choice, and the organisation of, and access to, mental health services. It has created a menu of treatment options to allow patients to pick the one which is right for them, in a shared decision-making discussion with their healthcare practitioner.

It believes this approach allows patients, for example, with less severe depression to choose a first-line treatment option from the menu, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exercise, counselling or psychotherapy.

A similar range of psychological interventions, along with the option of antidepressant medication, is available to those choosing a first-line treatment for more severe depression.

Around one in six (17 per cent) adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain experienced some form of depression in summer 2021 (according to the Office of National Statistics) compared to 10 per cent of adults before the coronavirus pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).

The guideline also contains new recommendations for those stopping antidepressant medication.

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: "People with depression deserve and expect the best treatment from the NHS which is why this guideline is urgently required.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the impact depression has had on the nation’s mental health. People with depression need these evidence-based guideline recommendations available to the NHS, without delay."

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