Doctors give too many elderly people antidepressants when they are struggling with depression and, according to therapists, they should prescribe conversation therapies much more often.

Too often, GPs avoid talking about depression with patients over the age of 65, and they have no time to properly research and treat the disease, the study said.

Almost one in ten people over the age of 75 is thought to suffer from depression, while nearly one in ten (37.4%) has some symptoms. However, the vast majority (87%) are being treated with medication, although the results often do not help.

Too often, GPs reject talk therapy to fight depression in the elderly, partly because there are long waiting times to start treatment, according to the article published in the British Journal of General Practice.

NHS Digital figures show that, although 1.4 million people of all ages in 2017/18 were referred to support the NHS to improve access to psychological therapies (IAPTs), only 91.117 (6.3%) of them over 65 years were old.

While 1 million respondents began treatment therapy, only 74 503 or 7.4% of them were over 65.

Although evidence shows that conversational therapies help older people with depression, they are twice as common as antidepressants are younger people.

Over 85-year-olds receive psychological help five times less than 55-59 year olds. In some areas, it is recommended that only 3.5% of over-65s visit a therapist to undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy.

"Access to counseling needs to be improved. They are effective in older populations, but we know that GPs are less likely to use depressive symptoms in their 80s than they were in their fifties and sixties, rather than in the 1980s, "said Rachael Frost, a researcher at University College London and the main author of the paper.

Elderly people may be reluctant to seek NHS assistance because they fear being stigmatized or that nothing can be done about their condition anyway, the report said. In addition, family physicians often use their appointments to discuss the physical health of the elderly person rather than their psychological well-being. Some do not respond to evidence suggesting that over-65s want to talk about how they feel.

Their conclusions are based on a review of the evidence from 27 studies conducted in Western countries, including eight from the United Kingdom, on how healthcare professionals treat patients over the age of 65 who suffer from depression.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs had only prescribed antidepressants "after having conducted a candid and honest discussion with the patient in front of us based on their individual circumstances and whether We really believe that they will do that. Help them.

"Regardless of the age of a patient, depression can be incredibly stressful and debilitating, and research has shown that antidepressants can be effective medications for many adult patients to relieve their symptoms."

Providing talk therapies was "patchy," she added.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said: "These figures show once again that the elderly miss conversational therapies and other effective treatments for mental illness, with over-prescribed medications too often.

"Depression and anxiety affect almost three million people over the age of 60, and older people can not give up help or treatment because they either do not offer it or they do not know where to look for help. Conversational therapies can benefit everyone, regardless of age. "

  • In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted at 116 123 or by e-mail at jo@samaritans.org. You can contact the psychiatric charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk. In the US, the lifecycle of National Suicide Prevention is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the Lifeline Crisis Support Service is on November 13, 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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