Study: 'Talk therapy' may be best fix for seniors' depression

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Hold the pills and break out a little more counseling. That may be the best prescription for seniors' depression, researchers have found after reviewing eight clinical trials.

"Talk therapy" could prove better than medication, particularly when a therapist works with a senior's primary care physician. Those receiving "cognitive-behavioral" therapy (verbal counseling) fared better than study subjects receiving medications or a combination of medications and counseling, investigators say.

Results were boosted when mental health providers worked closely with a patient's personal physician to design a course of treatment.

"We think the findings give us some valuable information about what works," lead study author Dr. Karyn M. Skultety, of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, said in a statement. She added, however, that more research needs to be done on using such cognitive-behavioral therapy as a "first-line" or solo treatment for depression. Her team's report can be found in the November issue of Health Psychology.