Guideline on treating depression now open for consultation

New from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Ella Rhodes reports.

A new guideline from NICE for treating depression in adults, the first for 12 years, is open for consultation until mid-January. NICE has reviewed evidence on patient choice, access to services and service delivery, the treatment of new episodes of depression, relapse prevention, chronic depression, depression with personality disorder, and psychotic depression.

The guidance suggests that anti-depressant medication should not be used as a first-line treatment in new cases of less severe cases of depression, unless someone would prefer it. For those people with less severe depression NICE has recommended treatments such as group and individual therapies, group mindfulness and meditation, and self-help with support.   

If the new guidance is approved, those with first episodes of more severe depression can choose antidepressant medications along with psychosocial interventions including talking therapies, individual problem-solving and counselling. The document places an emphasis on patient choice and also covers recommendations for people who want to stop taking antidepressants – pointing to evidence that stopping antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

The British Psychological Society, along with several other organisations and individuals, was part of a coalition which rejected previous drafts of the guideline citing methodological flaws, a lack of transparency and inconsistencies. The draft guidance can be found here. The society is set to send a response to the new guideline consultation which closes on 12 January. To contribute please contact [email protected]

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber