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.