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Can J Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;46 Suppl 1:13S-20S.

Clinical guidelines for the treatment of depressive disorders, I. Definitions, prevalence, and health burden.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.



The Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments partnered to produce clinical guidelines for psychiatrists for the treatment of depressive disorders.


A standard guidelines development process was followed. Relevant literature was identified using a computerized Medline search supplemented by review of bibliographies. Operational criteria were used to rate the quality of scientific evidence, and the line of treatment recommendations included consensus clinical opinion. This section on "Definitions, Prevalence, and Health Burden" was 1 of 7 articles drafted and reviewed by clinicians. Revised drafts underwent national and international expert peer review.


The 1-year prevalence rate of major depressive disorder (MDD) in Canada is 3.2% to 4.6%, similar to the rates in other countries. MDD frequently runs a chronic or recurrent course and carries high risks for mortality and morbidity. The significant economic costs and disability associated with depressive illness are reduced by effective treatment.


MDD is a prevalent medical condition that results in a significant health burden in the world. Vigorous efforts to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention are indicated to reduce the societal and personal costs of depressive disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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