A Coping Plan Can Help Fend Off Depression From Vision Loss
by Patti Neighmond
August 11, 2014
about 25 percent of people with macular degeneration in both eyes go on to develop clinical depression.
So Dr. Rovner decided to test a style of psychological therapy called behavior activation. This treatment helps give patients strategies to build on whatever functional vision they have so they can continue their day-to-day activities and carry on an active social life. Rovner wanted to see if the approach would help people with macular degeneration ward off depression.
The results were dramatic: Patients in the study who created a plan and stuck to it cut their risk of depression by more than half, Rovner says, compared to those who received only the talk therapy.
Vision is the primary way sighted people engage in the world, he says. If you can help someone who is losing their sight come up with coping strategies, there’s a good chance you’ll keep them engaged — and keep depression at bad.
“People tend to ruminate on what they’ve lost,” says Dr. Barry Rovner, a geriatric psychiatrist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “That’s why we say, ‘Do the plan. Follow the plan, not your feelings.’
a just do it philosophy.