Clinical Management of Depression – Summary of RANZCP Guidelines

Posted on:March 26, 2018
Last Updated: November 10, 2023
Time to read: 10–12 minutes

In early February 2018, the Australian government published their health spending figures for 2015/2016, which showed that $9 billion was spent on mental health [1]. On average this is $373 per person, and this number has been increasing by 1.4% per annum.

In the context of medical morbidity, depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and is associated not only with an increased health care cost, but more prolonged hospitalisation, poor treatment compliance, and higher rates of morbidity.

Key facts:

  • 1 in 10 patients in primary care present with depressive symptoms
  • The lifetime risk of depression is 15%, and 12-month prevalence is 4.1%
  • Female to male ratio is 2:1
  • 80% of those affected by depression will experience at least 2 episodes of illness in their lifetime
  • 54% of individuals recover within 6 months; 70% within one year
  • 12-15% fail to recover and develop an unremitting chronic illness

The article is a summary of the RANZCP mood disorder guidelines for depression. The article focuses on management of depression in adults and does not include treatment of special groups such as perinatal,  youth, elderly or those with comorbid medical conditions.