Depression in older people is common, under-diagnosed, under-treated and attracts “therapeutic nihilism”, according to Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia | OnMedica
Prof Burns say while one in five older people have clinical depression, “contrary to some popular and professional opinion, it is eminently treatable”. He wants clinicians to offer a wider range of treatments and therapies to target depression and anxiety which are both associated with increased risk of more serious physical and mental health problems.
“Treatments for depression in older people are largely the same as in younger people and there is high quality and convincing evidence that older people respond very well to interventions,”
While exercise is a “very effective” treatment for depression, Prof Burns cites the Health Survey for England which showed that only 18% of men and 19% of women aged 55-64 undertake the recommended amount of regular exercise, a figure falling to 10% and 2% for people aged 75-85.
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