Furthermore, older adults with depression have the best response when these cognitive-behavioural therapies are delivered by interdisciplinary health teams, say reviewers led by psychologist Karyn Skultety. The review recommends this integrated approach instead of the more conventional focus on antidepressant medications.

The suggestion is based on only eight studies, yet, “We think the findings give us some valuable information on what works,” says Skultety, who works in the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

The reviewers also note that older adults prefer to seek help for depression from primary care physicians, and that many prefer psychosocial treatments. “They’re on a lot of medications already, and usually they’re trying to work with their doctors to reduce the number of medications they’re on, not increase,” Skultety said.

The strongest treatment effects appeared in the two studies that incorporated interdisciplinary teams, in which mental health providers worked in collaboration with medical providers to develop plans for care. These models resulted in “consistently significant improvements in depressive symptoms,” the reviewers found.

“Even at this point I think there’s enough evidence to say this is a desired model if you’re going to work in primary care,” said Forrest Scogin, president-elect of the Clinical Geropsychology Section of the American Psychological Association.

While Skultety said that involving interdisciplinary teams can be time-consuming initially, she added “You’re actually looking at saving yourself time down the road because you’re addressing everything at once. Otherwise, a lot of older adults present depression with just vague physical complaints, and they come back again and again and again.”

MEDICA.de; Source: Health Behavior News Service