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Understanding NICE guidance
Information for people who use NHS services


Treating depression in adults
with a long-term physical
health problem
NICE `clinical This booklet is about the care and treatment of depression in people with
guidelines' advise a long-term physical health problem (such as cancer, a heart condition
or diabetes)…

Page 2

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Contents
Your care 3
Depression and long-term physical health problems 4
What should happen when I first talk to a healthcare 5
professional about depression?
Who will provide my treatment for depression? 7
What treatments should I be offered for depression? 7
Treatments for mild to moderate depression 9
Treatments…

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Your care
In the NHS, patients and healthcare professionals have rights
and responsibilities as set out in the NHS Constitution
(www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/NHSConstitution/index.htm). All NICE
guidance is written to reflect these. You have the right to be involved in
discussions and make informed decisions about your treatment and care
with your healthcare…

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Depression and long-term physical health problems
Having a long-term physical health problem (such as cancer, a heart
condition, diabetes, disabilities caused by a stroke, respiratory disease,
kidney disease, arthritis or multiple sclerosis) can be distressing and difficult
to cope with. In some people this can lead to depression, although they…

Page 5

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Healthcare professionals may use different terms for depression, such as
`major depressive disorder' or `clinical depression'.
Sometimes a person has very few symptoms of depression that don't
affect their life too much in the short term but can do if they continue for
a long time ­ `dysthymia' is a…

Page 6

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Some people find it difficult to discuss their depression, so your
confidentiality, privacy and dignity should be respected at all times.
Healthcare professionals should be aware of any sensitive issues relating
to being diagnosed with depression, and should build a relationship with
you based on openness, trust, hope and optimism.…

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Who will provide my treatment for depression?
Most people with depression are cared for by their GP, as are most people
with a long-term physical health problem. Your GP might involve other
healthcare professionals, such as a nurse or a mental health worker, in
your care. If a hospital doctor…

Page 8

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If you have both depression and anxiety, you will be treated first for the
one that causes you the most problems. Because treatments for anxiety
and depression are similar, treatment for one condition can often help
the other.
Once you have started treatment, your healthcare professional should
check whether you…

Page 9

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Treatments for mild to moderate depression
Mild depression can sometimes get better by itself without treatment or by
following advice from your GP (or other healthcare professional) on coping
with problems and improving sleep. They should offer you advice on going
to bed and getting up at regular times, not…

Page 10

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Initial treatments for mild to moderate depression in people with a long-term physical health problem1

What treatment What does it involve? How long does it
have I been offered? usually last?

Physical activity A group exercise class. The instructor will take into account G Usually 2 or 3 sessions
programme…

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