Are We Treating Depression When We Should Be Treating Hearing Loss?

Could we be prescribing antidepressants to those who really need a hearing test? A large-scale study published last April,based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2010 found a significant correlation between hearing loss and depression, confirming some smaller studies and also anecdotal evidence. What was most interesting was that the link was found only in certain populations. There was no relatioTwo older women having lemonadenshipbetween hearing loss and depression in people who were either culturally deaf or functionally deaf. There was no relationship in adults 70 and older who self-reported hearing loss. In other words, those who accepted their hearing loss did not experience greater levels of depression. So who did? Read more……. Photo: Kali9/iStock Postscript: On Monday, the Federal Government Accountability Office released findings showing widespread use of psychiatric drugs by older Americans with dementia. The drugs included the “inappropriate” use of Abilify, Risperdal, Zyprexa and clozapine.  Abilify, an antipsychotic intended for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as major depressive disorder in connection with other drugs, is the number 1 seller among all prescription drugs — not just antidepressants – in this country. Sales between April 2013 and March 2014 ($6.9 billion) amounted to more than all other antidepressants combined. That’s a lot of schizophrenic, bipolar and majorly depressed people. Clearly Abilify is being prescribed for more routine depression as well. Many dementias are clearly diagnosable, but some are not. Sometimes these turn out to be hearing loss or misplaced hearing aids. Are we treating these people with antipsychotics? Sounds more like a mental ward than an assisted living facility.

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