Psychological treatment can help older people who are suffering from lower-severity depression, prevent more severe depression from developing.
An innovative psychological treatment can help older people who are suffering from lower-severity depression, say researchers at the University of York. It can also prevent more severe depression from developing.
Depression is common amongst older people, with one in seven meeting the criteria for full-blown depression. Older people at the greatest risk of depression are those who suffer from loneliness and long-term illnesses, both of which affect this age group disproportionately.
The CASPER clinical trial focussed on older people with lower-severity symptoms who are at the highest risk of becoming clinically depressed.
CASPER is the largest-ever study of its kind and is reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). York based researchers showed that a simple and low-cost intervention reduced the symptoms of depression in older people (aged 65 and over).
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Those who received the intervention were also less likely to be more severely depressed after a year. Older people were also less anxious and had improved quality of life compared to people who just received care from their GP.
“We developed our Collaborative Care intervention after consulting with older people and considering evidence about effective treatments for depression.” said study manager, Kate Bosanquet, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences.
“We used a simple psychological approach known as behavioural activation. Older people were encouraged to re-engage with social activity and to find alternative ways of being mentally or physically active. This is important since people with depression commonly withdraw from these types of activities and this makes things worse.”