About 10-20% of older patients in primary care suffer from symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are associated with higher rates of cognitive decline, lower quality of life, increased medical comorbidity, and higher mortality rates in these patients. Given the world’s aging population and consequent rapid increase in older patients in primary care, many traditional therapeutic approaches for depression or anxiety in this patient population – e.g. assessment by a mental health practitioner, individual psychotherapy and/or appropriate psychotropic medication – have been inadequate, with many patients having undetected depression and anxiety. Additionally, geriatric depression and anxiety are very common, but difficult to treat with psychotropic medications: patients are more sensitive to adverse effects and respond relatively less well to medication.
To help with this issue, the investigators are conducting a randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a treatment that has been highly effective in treating depression and anxiety, but has not yet been assessed in older adults. There has been relatively little information about MBCT’s effectiveness, particularly in the primary care setting and in the acute treatment of depression and anxiety(vs. maintenance treatment).
This study will be conducted in 75-100 older adults in primary care with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study will take place in the “centre local de services communautaires” CLSC Benny Farm, a primary health care centre in Montreal, Canada. Most patients aged 60+ with symptoms of depression (Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) score ≥10) or anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD- 7) score ≥10) will be eligible. Patients who are eligible for the study will be randomized: half the patients will get 8-week MBCT with a trained interventionist (occupational therapist, psychiatry resident, or psychiatrist). The other half (control group) will get patient treatment as usual with patient primary care physician/primary care team during the study, but then after the study, patients will be offered the treatment if patients would like.
Primary Outcome Measures:
- Significant decrease in the PHQ-9 (depression) score between baseline and 8-week follow-up. [ Time Frame: week 0 to 8 weeks ]
- Decrease in the GAD-7 score (anxiety) between baseline and 8-week follow-up [ Time Frame: week 0 to 8 weeks ]
- Decreases in stress markers between baseline (week 0) and 8-week follow-up [ Time Frame: week 0 to 8 weeks ]
- Blood draws will be performed to assess the levels of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and stress such as cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, adrenaline, noradrenaline and aldosterone. The concentrations will be given in pg/ml.
- Decreases in inflammatory markers between baseline (week 0) and 8-week follow-up [ Time Frame: week 0 to 8 weeks ]
- Blood draws will be performed to assess the levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, cytokines, epidermal growth factor 1 (EGF-1) and indicators of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and stress such as cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, adrenaline, noradrenaline and aldosterone. These measures will be taken at baseline and at 8-week follow-up. The concentrations will be given in pg/ml.