Therapy provided over the phone lowered symptoms of anxiety and depression among older adults in rural areas with a lack of mental health services, a new study shows (Source: “Telephone Therapy Helps Older People In Underserved Rural Areas, Study Finds,” Kaiser Health News, Aug. 5, 2015). – need link for this
According to the study by researchers at Wake Forest University and published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, the severity of the patients’ worries declined for patients receiving either cognitive behavioral therapy or a less intensive phone therapy. But the patients getting cognitive therapy had a significantly higher reduction of symptoms from generalized anxiety disorder and depressive symptoms.
Yet many seniors could face barriers getting that therapy because Medicare has stringent requirements for eligibility for these kinds of phone therapies, according to Eric Lenze, a psychiatrist and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. Lenze argued that phone therapy is a good alternative to drugs that are often prescribed for anxiety and depression but can make seniors sleepy and disoriented and lead to injuries.