Some Are Missing Out on Depression Treatment

Lower rates of therapy, drugs for older men, blacks and Hispanics

MONDAY, April 7, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Older men and blacks and Hispanics with clinical depression report they have lower rates of depression treatment than other people surveyed in a national study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Overall, the survey found that fewer than one in three older adults with clinical depression had received potentially effective treatment for their depression in the previous three months.

The findings appear in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The survey also revealed the majority of respondents said they preferred depression counseling over antidepressant medication, but antidepressants were more commonly used in the clinics included in the study.

Researchers surveyed 1,801 depressed adults aged 60 and over at 18 clinics in California, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

They found that 83 percent of those surveyed reported depression symptoms lasting two or more years and 71 percent reported two or more prior bouts of major depression.

About 65 percent of the survey participants reported any previous depression treatment, 46 percent reported being treated for depression in the previous three months and 29 percent reported they'd received potentially effective depression treatment within the previous three months.

Men were consistently less likely than women to report having received depression treatment at any time in their lives.

Hispanics and black people in the survey reported significantly lower rates of depression treatment than whites. The survey found that 68.2 percent of whites reported any lifetime depression care, compared to 53.6 percent for blacks and 55.7 per cent for Hispanics.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about depression.

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