OCT 09, 2019 12:12 PM PDT

Elderly Depression Remains Consistant As Antidepressant Use Doubles

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Mikyska

 

A new study from the University of East Anglia finds that despite a 2-fold increase in antidepressant use, depression among individuals 65 and older remains the same.

The University interviewed 15,000 seniors in England and Wales between 1991- 1993, and 2008-2011 to record trends in depression and antidepressant use.   

During the early 1990s, only 4.2% of interviewed seniors were prescribed antidepressants, compared to 10.7% of interviewees in the mid-2000s.  However, given the increase in prescriptions, it striking that depression among seniors only decreased from 7.9% to 6.8%.  The findings were especially.

This study mirrors one which focused on the trend of dementia and dementia medication use, which found an increase in dementia prescription use tied to a decrease in dementia.  It is puzzling that a similar connection is not found with depression and antidepressants, because antidepressants are highly effective.  

The study found that most of the severely depressed interviewees were not prescribed any antidepressants, which may help explain why the rate of depression remained about the same.  The dramatic increase in prescription is likely due to many factors, including increased awareness of the condition and treatment options, alternative applications, and overprescription. 

 

Sources:  Arthur et. al., Matthews et. al., Neuroscience News, HuffPost

About the Author
  • Amanda graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Biology. After working in research on creating biochemicals from genetically engineered yeast, she started freelance science writing while traveling the world. Now, Amanda is a Lab Manager and Research Assistant at the the University of Central Florida, studying the molecular phylogeny of parasitic wasps. She writes about the latest research in Neuroscience, Genetics & Genomics, and Immunology. Interested in working on solutions for food/water security, sustainable fuel, and sustainable farming. Amanda is an avid skier, podcast listener, and has run two triathlons.
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