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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Growing Number Of Older People Prescribed Antidepressants

A higher proportion of people over the age of 65 in the UK are being prescribed antidepressants now than 20 years ago, new research shows.

Pulse Today reported on the findings of the study conducted by researchers at the universities of East Anglia, Cambridge, Newcastle and Nottingham.

Antidepressant use among this age group has increased from 4.2 per cent in the early 1990s to 10.7 per cent 20 years later. However, while antidepressant use has increased, the prevalence of depression among people in this age group has actually fallen.

The research noted that rates are now 6.8 per cent, down from the 7.9 per cent recorded in the early 1990s.

The news provider noted that GPs have suggested that increased antidepressant use could in part be due to greater acceptance of mental health conditions and a sign that more people are seeking help to deal with these issues.

Professor Antony Arthur, lead author of the study from the University of East Anglia, stressed that depression is a leading cause of poor quality of life around the world. He also pointed out that people aged over 65 are less likely than other age groups to visit their doctor about symptoms of depression.

He told the news provider: “We shouldn’t be complacent and regular review is key to ensure that opportunities to deprescribe where it is safe and sensible to do so are not overlooked.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), said that the indication that more people in this age group are seeking help with depression is “encouraging”.

“We also have a much better understanding of the effectiveness of antidepressants than we did in the early 90s - and it’s important to remember that current evidence shows these drugs work well when prescribed appropriately,” Professor Stokes-Lampard stated.

Of course, antidepressants are far from the only way to treat depression and other mental health conditions.

The Psychiatry and Behavioural Health Network recently reported on two speakers at the Psych Congress 2019 session, who spoke about how mindfulness meditation can improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Dr Saundra Jain, adjunct clinical affiliate, school of nursing, at the University of Texas at Austin, commented: “Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions - depression and anxiety - super effective as front lines.”

Psychiatrist Dr Michele Hauser also spoke at the congress about the advantages of mindfulness meditation. She explained why it works as a technique to help people with depression and anxiety.

“Instead of spiralling downward into increasing anxiety and depression, we’re able to stop that spiral and respond in a more appropriate fashion,” she said.

Dr Hauser also pointed to the success of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which has been documented in the EU.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression and would like to get some help from a mindful therapist in Wimbledon, contact me today. As well as helping you develop a regular mindfulness practice, I also offer mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

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