Seeking mental health treatment during mid-life has long-term benefits
According to a new study published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, seeking treatment for mental disorders during middle age may account for better mental health later in life. According to the study, 157 patients at the age of 43 who were taking antidepressants, anxiolytics, or both, decreased their chances of having a disorder by 70% 10 years later. Commenting about the study’s results, Ian Colman, Ph.D., of the University of Alberta, stated, “What this tells us is that, if people get treated initially, they are less likely to have a relapse in the future.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that discusses the findings more:
Because only 24.2% of those taking medications at age 43 were still being treated at age 53, the researchers said, the lasting benefits of taking antidepressants and anxiolytics “may be because of a demonstrated willingness to seek help rather than long-term maintenance therapy.”
They said the lasting benefit may be “explained by an initial willingness to be treated, potential successful initial treatment, and an increased likelihood that these patients would seek and accept help when encountering symptoms of depression and anxiety in the future.”
Although medications for depression and anxiety have been shown to be effective in the short term, less is known about their long-term effects.
So Dr. Colman and colleagues evaluated participants in the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, who were all born in England, Scotland, or Wales in March 1946.
Participants were assessed for symptoms of depression and anxiety at age 43 using the Psychiatric Symptom Frequency Scale. Those who were identified as having a mental disorder were reassessed 10 years later, with 157 completing both evaluations.