Statement of Intent
The APA Practice Guidelines are not intended to be construed or to serve as a standard
of medical care. Standards of medical care are determined on the basis of all clinical
data available for an individual patient and are subject to change as scientific
knowledge and technology advance and practice patterns evolve. These parameters
of practice should be considered guidelines only. Adherence to them will not ensure
a successful outcome for every individual, nor should they be interpreted as including
all proper methods of care or excluding other acceptable methods of care aimed at
the same results. The ultimate recommendation regarding a particular clinical procedure
or treatment plan must be made by the psychiatrist in light of the clinical data,
the psychiatric evaluation, and the diagnostic and treatment options available.
Such recommendations should incorporate the patient's personal and sociocultural
preferences and values in order to enhance the therapeutic alliance, adherence to
treatment, and treatment outcomes.
These practice guidelines have been developed by psychiatrists who are in active
clinical practice. In addition, some contributors are primarily involved in research
or other academic endeavors. It is possible that through such activities some contributors,
including work group members and reviewers, have received income related to treatments
discussed in these guidelines. A number of mechanisms are in place to minimize the
potential for producing biased recommendations due to conflicts of interest. Work
group members are selected on the basis of their expertise and integrity. Any work
group member or reviewer who has a potential conflict of interest that may bias
(or appear to bias) his or her work is asked to disclose this to the Steering Committee
on Practice Guidelines and the work group. Iterative guideline drafts are reviewed
by the Steering Committee, other experts, allied organizations, APA members, and
the APA Assembly and Board of Trustees; substantial revisions address or integrate
the comments of these multiple reviewers. The development of the APA practice guidelines
is not financially supported by any commercial organization.
More detail about mechanisms in place to minimize bias is provided in a document
available from the APA Department of Quality Improvement and Psychiatric Services,
APA Guideline Development Process.