Pharmacotherapy is the study of the use of drugs on patients including treatment of illnesses through administering drugs. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is the practice of using a trained therapist to help in the diagnosis and treatment of the emotional and mental problem. This therapy can take different forms which include behavioral and cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or a combination of these therapies. A combined antidepressant medication and psychotherapy have the advantage that they are effective in treating depressive and anxiety disorders. However, studies also present that psychotherapy is superior in the long-term while pharmacotherapy is recommendable in a short-term period. Psychotherapy also has the advantage that it has fewer physiological side effects, which makes it highly recommendable for the elderly persons who often take more than one type of medication. It has also been evidence that psychotherapy offers an effective treatment alternative for patients who do not respond to antidepressant medication. However, it has the disadvantage that it takes longer than pharmacotherapy or the use of medication to produce a significant change in symptoms in the patient receiving the treatment. Another disadvantage is that both Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy must be combined with other treatment methods in patients with severe depression in order to produce a significant result.
A combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy in treating depression in the elderly people have been evidenced in the research work conducted by Martin Pinquart and coauthors. In this study, the authors were determined to provide data on the comparative effects of psychotherapy versus pharmacology interventions in treating depression in the elderly people. They were driven by the hypothesis that elderly people with depressive symptoms usually lack major depression, therefore, data on the treatment of minor depression is highly required. In their study, they applied meta-analysis to incorporate the outcome of 89 controlled studies of treatment that were focused on 37 adverse major depression, and 52 other depressive disorders which included people with minor depression, major depression and dysthymia. In this case studies, a total of 5,328 elderly people received both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. The authors established that there was an improved score of clinician-rated depression on average, and it improved by 1.09 SD units in psychotherapeutic studies and 0.69 SD units in pharmacotherapeutic studies. In their conclusion, they noted that a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy works in treating depression in the elderly people. Additionally, these treatment interventions did not indicate any significant change on the effect sizes.
This paper has chosen on an intervention that combines Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy because this intervention has been evidenced to work well for elderly people by a number of empirical studies on the same topic subject as the one cited in this paper. For example, psychotherapy has been found to be very effective for the elderly people because it has been found to blend well with other treatment methods bearing in mind that older adults are usually subjected to a number of treatment methods. Additionally, the use of antidepressants and psychotherapy is highly recommendable for the elderly people because the depressive symptoms they manifest are usually not major, therefore, a therapy that cools off their minds is recommendable.
This intervention will target the whole population of elderly people because it provides the best alternative method for treating simple depressive symptoms. The older adults have minor depressive symptoms, therefore, a simple intervention that will relax their minds like a combination of medical treatment using anti-depressants and psychotherapy is adequate for treating their depressive symptoms. Since this intervention is a simple one and does not require any legal measure to implement, it requires no policy change but it requires the creation of a supportive environment to enable the elderly people to improve their depressive symptoms.