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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 June;40(2):109-16


language: Italian

Psychotherapy of depression in the elderly. The interpersonal approach

Scocco P., Frank E., De Leo D.


Mood disorders represent one of the most common pathologies in the older adult population. The importance and extent of the problem become even more evident when considering that suicide risk rises with age and the close link between depression and suicidal behaviour. Treatment of depressive disorders in the elderly has received notable impetus through introduction onto the market of new antidepressant drugs, though the risk of interaction with other pharmacological treatments, frequently poor compliance and the not uncommon resistance to these therapies, suggest the need for orientation towards alternative forms of intervention. In this context, psychotherapy may provide an alternative to or be adoped in association with drug therapy. Psychotherapy with the elderly requires considerable commitment and a special attitude to patients. Therapists should endeavour to highlight and emphasize, together with the patient, even the slightest progress, which may at times be the only achievable objective. Fortunately, elderly patients are often satisfied with small changes, which would not be sufficient to meet or improve the self-estreem of younger patients. Interpersonal Psychotherapy may prove to be a means of interpreting and an effective therapeutic instrument for elderly depressive pathologies. The aim of this article is to describe modifications to be made to the setting and psychotherapeutic technique when dealing with this particular user population.

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