Older persons and other UK residents who are diagnosed with a chronic or long-term illness such as diabetes or cancer will be subject to closer supervision and assessment for development of depression.
The National Institute for Healthcare and Clinical Excellence issued new guidelines recently about the diagnosis and treatment of the mental condition, citing statistics showing those with chronic illnesses develop depression at a rate much higher than the rest of the population, reports the Guardian.
Two questions should be answered regarding a patient's feeling of hopelessness or depression.
The first steps for older persons or others with chronic conditions includes talking therapy, and in more extreme cases, the general practitioners could consider a prescription of antidepressants in conjunction with the recommendations of a psychiatrist, reports the newspaper.
"Depression is the most common mental health problem in later life affecting one in four older people yet it is often overlooked by GPs and health professionals and wrongly seen as part of growing old," notes Andrew Harrop Age Concern and Help the Aged public policy head. "For many older people it's a serious illness that if left unidentified and untreated can lead to a life of misery."