Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) 2016 Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder: Section 1. Disease Burden and Principles of Care

Can J Psychiatry. 2016 Sep;61(9):510-23. doi: 10.1177/0706743716659416. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Background: The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) conducted a revision of the 2009 guidelines by updating the evidence and recommendations. The scope of the 2016 guidelines remains the management of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults, with a target audience of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

Methods: Using the question-answer format, we conducted a systematic literature search focusing on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Evidence was graded using CANMAT-defined criteria for level of evidence. Recommendations for lines of treatment were based on the quality of evidence and clinical expert consensus. This section is the first of six guidelines articles.

Results: In Canada, the annual and lifetime prevalence of MDD was 4.7% and 11.3%, respectively. MDD represents the second leading cause of global disability, with high occupational and economic impact mainly attributable to indirect costs. DSM-5 criteria for depressive disorders remain relatively unchanged, but other clinical dimensions (sleep, cognition, physical symptoms) may have implications for depression management. e-Mental health is increasingly used to support clinical and self-management of MDD. In the 2-phase (acute and maintenance) treatment model, specific goals address symptom remission, functional recovery, improved quality of life, and prevention of recurrence.

Conclusions: The burden attributed to MDD remains high, whether from individual distress, functional and relationship impairment, reduced quality of life, or societal economic cost. Applying core principles of care, including comprehensive assessment, therapeutic alliance, support of self-management, evidence-informed treatment, and measurement-based care, will optimize clinical, quality of life, and functional outcomes in MDD.

Keywords: clinical assessment; clinical practice guidelines; depressive disorders; diagnosis; evidence-based medicine; major depressive disorder; meta-analysis; phenomenology; systematic reviews.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Societies, Medical / standards*