"I TAKE so much medication I am virtually rattling” is a statement we hear every day within our work with older people and anti-depressants play an unnecessarily large part in this. Almost one in 10 over 75 year olds are thought to suffer from depression, with almost four in 10 exhibiting some symptoms. However, the vast majority, 87%, are treated with medication as opposed to alternative talking therapies, which are proven to be effective.

Too often GPs dismiss talking therapies as a way of tackling depression in older people, according to a paper published in the British Journal of General Practice. Only 6.3% of people accessing talking therapies are over 65, and those aged over 85 are five times less likely than 55 to 59-year-olds to receive psychological help.

Regardless of age, depression can be incredibly distressing and debilitating, and for those of us living with long-term health conditions, reduced independence and changing family dynamics the effects are even more devastating; antidepressants are not likely to help. Instead, thought needs to be given to the underlying factors associated with depression, be it bereavement, financial difficulties, loneliness or struggling to manage high levels of pain.

There is no reason why older people should miss out on effective help and treatment for depression because either they are not offered it or don’t know how to access it for themselves. We often don’t question medication prescribed by our GP, but perhaps it is time we do, to help give ourselves the best possible chance of overcoming depression. If you have concerns about the way you are feeling, please call us on 030 300 30003.