Quick Fix Depression


The number is rising every year.   Have they become the new ‘go-away pill’ of the year.  In the quick-fix, cure-all, out-of-sight, out-of-mind GP service and the bed-blocked, older-people-are-a-constant-nuisance NHS.

A double page spread in The Times, 21 July would seem to suggest that  the epidemic of loneliness amongst the increasing population of older people is being treated this way.     A map in the article charts the level of prescriptions for depression in different areas of the country.     Best not live in the North of England, nor Lincolnshire or East Anglia.      And don’t try escaping to Torbay or the Isle of White.    These are all areas with the highest rates of prescribing anti-depressants and not coincidently the highest rates of older people in the population.

The investigation finds that 7.3 million people are being prescribed anti-depressants.   This is a number that has doubled in the last decade and surprise, surprise, the elderly are the greatest ‘beneficiaries’.

Feel fed up – take a pill.    Not been out lately – take another.  Too many repeats on the tele – a pill might take the boredom away.   Lost a friend – a pill will help you forget.   Forget and a pill could help with that too.  Anti-depressants are rapidly becoming the new ‘go-away pill’ for older people.

GP’s are busy people and they can’t be expected to cure-all the ills of modern-day society, but anti-depressants are a quick out-of-the-door solution.  Pills are free to the elderly, but talking to them takes time.   Social clubs cost money, just like meals on wheels, day care, home visits and a little attention.   It used to be called compassion.

It’s easy to blame GP’s but the reality is, its society as a whole that marginalises older people.   That in turn creates the epidemic of loneliness.


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1 Response to Quick Fix Depression

  1. Bonetch.
    Dear John, you have lit my fuse, and stirred me into a response, on the general subject of the elderly?
    Pills and more pills, chemical coshes for the elderly, this is maybe today’s medical profession of dealing with elderly loneliness? Which maybe in earlier years was may have be slightly hidden/masked by alcoholism in earlier generations.
    There is no panacea for loneliness, we all have to work at the problem, and be self motivated to ensure we regularly as individuals to mingle and mix in general society. This can be achieved by physical contact, internet connections, and audio {radio/TV/telephone}.
    We are brought up in childhood, with living conditions in houses and apartments, and the social objective as a society is to invest in a property, and become independent of the state where ever possible. Our society is quite clearly divided into home living, and then separate leisure activities, remote from the home, but within the social groupings.
    If one reflects in a deeper mood/thoughts on social integration and loneliness, it is this physical separation of home and leisure, by physical distances and purpose built conurbation.
    AS a society we have not fully solved this situations, as we are educated/trained reared and asked to believe in an independent likelihood, within a social or a family group or groups! As this is believed to make us all personally stronger to fight as a common societal unit.
    When we mature into our later life I sincerely believe that we are divided by our earlier life and living to be independent of each other but within a social group. We now come to the crux of any problems? As we grow older? Do we in fact turn our back on this independent type living and become a homagenias social group???
    At the time I and my wife had to decided, and make a decision to retire, we were offered an opportuity, to study, discuss and consider with our children. It was challenging, and extremely thought provoking, and was about a retirement village for all persons and restricted to persons over 55 years of age: which then was a new concept to us personally. The village offered some 250 apartments {resulting in a possible 360 odd residents}. Within the complex was living accommodation, meeting rooms/ public spaces reception and hall/shops/gymnasium/ restaurant-bar, these were the physical and fabric features of the retirement village. Then we were as prospective residents given village management staff to advise on all aspects of the village life, health living, domiciliary support, and a strong management team to administer the complex, and organise and encourage active village leisure activities, some run by the management, but mostly run by volunteers and supported by the organisational management.
    In actual terms the idea has been most successful for my wife and I these past eleven years. It has given us a society actually on our doorstep, for which I am enjoying.
    Besides Pills and More Pills there could be a downside? When this retirement bulge of elderly citizens has passed 2060, then what do we as a society do with the ‘’as built’’ retirement Villages. A deeper question How do we repay the original financial and ethical investment. Tomorrow question? Yes???

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