Depression Treatment Guidelines

There are several depression guidelines in place to help streamline the care of patients suffering from health concerns. The primary ones include the APA depression guidelines, the VA/DOD depression guidelines, and the NICE depression guidelines. While they reflect some similarities in the ways by which they seek to attend to the needs of the patients, the guidelines also embody some differences in the structure and functionalities pursued. This paper compares the guidelines and suggests the most useful one.

Comparison of the Guidelines

            The shared similarities in the APA, VA/DOD, and NICE guidelines are rooted in the similarity of purpose. All seek to identify remedies and management of major depressive disorder. They provide guidelines across all age groups to ensure that each subject patient is provided sensitive care reflective of their social situations (Bayes and Parker, 2018; Misane, 2020). As an important consideration, the guidelines are also committed to the improvement of quality of life, social and occupational designation, they act as the benchmarks upon which care for patients suffering from depression is provided. By offering best-practice counsel, they create a standardized approach to care that can be utilized by all healthcare providers.

            However, there are several differences in the scope of the guidelines. For instance, NICE guidelines have a limited review of the appropriate treatment to be involved in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. However, APA guidelines assume a more collective view of depression that is not limited to major depressive disorder (MDD) (Cosgrove et al., 2017). Without clarity on the less extreme areas of concern, the process of attending to the care of patients with other lesser extremes of depression becomes compromised or threatened. One of the key differences between the three guidelines is further found in the intended targets. While VA/DOD guidelines have specific interventions across the age groups, NICE bundles patients into a single folder of patients (Zafra-Tanaka et al., 2019). It recommends therapies that primarily seek to better the behavioral patterns of the individual. The VA/DOD guidelines and APA guidelines do not have a specific theoretical framework in the treatment of its patients. Essentially, the treatment process is open to several inferential backgrounds depending on the condition of the patient. This is not the case in NICE guidelines where the framework calls for the integration of cognitive-behavioral theory (CBT) in attending to the emotional and physical needs of the patient.

The Most Useful Guideline

            Based on the comparisons, APA depression guidelines are the most useful. As a wholesome framework, it addresses individuals across all age groups and creates a sense of uniformity around the entire therapy process. The guideline encourages the involvement of more than one therapeutic intervention, or theoretical framework, to ensure that the patients’ areas of concern are diligently explored and remedied (Molenaar et al., 2018). APA guidelines are also optimal because they address the referral processes that should be undertaken in ensuring that the patients’ welfare is addressed and the health outcome is improved. Lastly, APA is the most popular of the therapy guidelines which inter-collaboration between physicians and hospitals possible.


            Overall, APA, VA/DOD, and NICE depression guidelines reflect some similarities in the ways by which they seek to attend to the needs of the patients. Still, the guidelines reflect differences. For instance, APA and VA/DOD assume a more liberal structure to the treatment of the process involving different theoretical inferences. Unlike the two, NICE entirely utilizes CBT to treat its patients. Among the three, APA provides the most useful depression guideline. It is wholesome and further addresses the collaboration between physicians and institutions in the treatment of the affected patient.



Bayes, A. J., & Parker, G. B. (2018). Comparison of guidelines for the treatment of unipolar depression: a focus on pharmacotherapy and neurostimulation. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica137(6), 459-471.

Cosgrove, L., Shaughnessy, A. F., Peters, S. M., Lexchin, J. R., Bursztajn, H., & Bero, L. (2017). Conflicts of interest and the presence of methodologists on guideline development panels: a cross-sectional study of clinical practice guidelines for major depressive disorder. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics86(3), 168-170.

Misane, M. D. (2020). Understanding Depression. International Journal of Studies in Nursing5(4), 1.

Molenaar, N. M., Kamperman, A. M., Boyce, P., & Bergink, V. (2018). Guidelines on treatment of perinatal depression with antidepressants: An international review. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry52(4), 320-327.

Zafra-Tanaka, J. H., Goicochea-Lugo, S., Villarreal-Zegarra, D., & Taype-Rondan, A. (2019). Characteristics and quality of clinical practice guidelines for depression in adults: a scoping review. BMC psychiatry19(1), 1-9.




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