Clinical guidelines for the treatment of depressive disorders. VII. Comorbidity. Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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 Axis I, Axis II, and Axis III comorbidity, is 1 of 7 articles that were drafted and reviewed by clinicians. Revised drafts underwent national and international expert peer review. RESULTS: Comorbid depression on Axis I is particularly prevalent in patients with anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and eating disorders, but it also occurs in patients with schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dementia. Depressive comorbidity has implications for assessment, management, and outcome. The relation between depression and personality disorders is complex. Patient with this comorbidity often require longer, more intense, and multimodal therapies. Depression is also prevalent in medical illnesses, requires careful diagnosis, and responds to standard antidepressant treatments. CONCLUSIONS: Comorbidity can influence the course and outcome of both associated conditions. Depression-specific psychotherapy and/or pharmacotherapy should be considered when comorbid depression is diagnosed.


  • Enns, MW
  • Swenson, JR
  • McIntyre, RS
  • Swinson, Richard
  • Kennedy, SH
  • CANMAT Depression Work Group

publication date

  • June 2001