Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seeking Treatment for Mental Disorders Has Lasting Effect

Middle-age patients taking medication for anxiety or depression are less likely to have mental disorders a decade later, a population-based study showed.

Among 157 patients who had a mental disorder at age 43, those who took antidepressants, anxiolytics, or both were 70% less likely to have a disorder 10 years later (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1 to 1.0), Ian Colman, Ph.D., of the University of Alberta here, and colleagues reported in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

"What this tells us is that, if people get treated initially, they are less likely to have a relapse in the future," Dr. Colman said.

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."


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