Treating depression in older adults
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Treating depression in older adults

Paul Green Carer liaison practitioner, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Paul Green presents a study of the benefits of behavioural activation, which can be delivered by appropriately trained non-therapists

As a treatment for depression, behavioural activation is as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy but less complex. Its simplicity and the absence of a cognitive component mean that it may be more suitable for older adults. However, existing reviews of the evidence are meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials, which tend to exclude subjects who are medically frail, cognitively impaired or have comorbid mental health problems. Eleven studies were examined to determine whether behaviourally focused treatments are suitable for older adults, including members of these client groups. The evidence suggests that behavioural activation that is delivered by non-therapists who are trained in the intervention can reduce depressive symptoms in older adults with comorbid medical problems. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Mental Health Practice. 19, 6, 16-24. doi: 10.7748/mhp.19.6.16.s19


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 28 May 2015

Accepted: 28 October 2015

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