Geriatric Depression Scale

The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a tool used by medical professionals to identify the signs of depression in older and medically ill patients. A report published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry said that the Geriatric Depression Scale:

  • Is comprised of “yes” or “no” questions
  • Can be taken by the patient or administered by the medical professional
  • Comes in a 15-question or abbreviated five-question form
  • Has been determined to be effective for use in patients over the age of 85, patients with Parkinson’s disease, elderly inpatients, and elderly outpatients

If your loved one is living with signs of depression, the Geriatric Depression Scale may be an effective tool to accurately diagnose their issues and help get them on the road to effective mental health care.

Efficacy of Geriatric Depression Scale in Diagnosing Depression

A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that the Geriatric Depression Scale was just as effective in identifying signs of depression in geriatric patients as the gold standard test for this purpose, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Especially in homecare patients where the SCID is not appropriate for use, the Geriatric Depression Scale was found to be extraordinarily useful in ensuring that patients got the directed care necessary to get and stay healthy.

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing reported that, when used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools like the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist, the Geriatric Depression Scale was effective in identifying symptoms of depression in older patients.

Depression in Older Patients

There are a number of reasons why depression is a significant issue among patients over the age of 65. Some of the most common include:

  • Effects of medications taken for chronic disorders
  • Depression associated with chronic illness
  • Loss of or separation from loved ones
  • Loss of independence (e.g., driving, living alone, etc.)
  • Lack of awareness that combining alcohol and medications can lead to more significant medical issues and depression

Though few patients in this age group will seek treatment on their own for an issue like depression, it is a problem that family members can help them to address through effective treatment.

Co-occurring Disorders in Elderly Patients

Few patients in the over-65 age group struggle with depression alone. For many, substance abuse and depression go hand in hand. Elderly patients may attempt to deal with sadness over an acute issue through drinking, marijuana use or abuse of prescription drugs, and ultimately create a new and even more devastating problem for themselves that cannot be helped without treatment.

The best way to address the issue is to start by using comprehensive diagnostic tools like the Geriatric Depression Scale to identify all mental health symptoms and disorders that may be preventing the patient from living a full life. When all problematic issues are identified early on, treatment can be more intensive and effective. Patients can enjoy a specified treatment plan and progress more quickly toward stability and sustainable recovery.

If you are interested in finding a Dual Diagnosis treatment program for your loved one, don’t wait to call us here at Foundations Recovery Network. Our admissions coordinators are standing by to assist you in finding the best services for your loved one. Call now.

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