Late-life depression is emerging to be a major concern as the elderly population continues to rise. Presently, guidelines for treating late-life depression gives precedence to pharmacological intervention, however this paper shall provide support for psychological or psychosocial interventions, providing an alternative treatment for individuals that cannot or will not accept antidepressant medication. Diagnosing late-life depression can be a complex task, as many factors implicate analysis. Preexisting medical conditions, adverse drug effects and drug-drug interactions may complicate antidepressant interventions, along with the concern for adverse side effects resulting from antidepressant medication. Empirical support has been provided for numerous psychological and psychosocial interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy, problem-solving therapy, reminiscence therapy and interpersonal therapy. These shall be discussed in regards to treatment efficacy for the elderly population, in the hope that greater support and attention will be given to these alternative interventions. Limitations one must be aware of when implementing psychological and psychosocial interventions include noncompliance, and cognitive and sensory impairment, which could diminish therapeutic success.
Addressing Late-Life Depression: Psychological and Psychosocial
Late-life depression is a major medical, social and economic concern for the elderly population (Pollock, 1999). Currently, antidepressants are the most common treatment intervention for late-life depression. However, this may not be suitable for all sufferers as some cannot or will not accept pharmacological treatments (Scogin & McElreath, 1994). Antidepressants may produce adverse side effects, especially in the elderly population where medical conditions and frailty are common (Pollock, 1999). A recent study by Kirsch, Moore, Scoboria & Nicholls (2002) found that 80% of participant responses to antidepressant medication could be duplicated in placebo and control groups. This concern questions pharmacological effects and prompts inquiries into alternative treatment interventions. This paper aims to discuss psychosocial and psychological treatment interventions, examining their effectiveness in hope that these treatments will...