Student writer competition winners

In her winning entry in the undergraduate category, Kate Lothian considers the detection and treatment of depression in older people. Alice Muir, the winner in the postgraduate category, takes a new look at stress and anxiety.
Kate Lothian - DEPRESSION has been labelled ‘the most prevalent mental health problem of elderly people’ (Mui, 1996, p.633). Indeed, depression in old age is almost twice as common as dementia (Pitt, 1982), with prevalence estimates ranging from 10 per cent to 20 per cent (Iliffe et al., 1993). As such, detection and effective treatment are key issues. Yet, depression in older adults is frequently ‘under-diagnosed and under-treated in the primary care sector’ (Garrard et al., 1998, p.m92). This article shall consider the importance of early detection of depression in older people, possible factors underlying its under-diagnosis, and suggest methods for improving the situation. Alice Muir - ALTHOUGH we know intuitively what stress is, it is a surprisingly nebulous concept to try to define. Both the World Health Organization and the diagnostic criteria (DSM-IV) issued by the American Psychiatric Association (1994) confine their definitions to acute stress disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But neither of these definitions includes the everyday stress with which we are all familiar, and which is so common today. Added to this, in the literature and in common usage, there is a great deal of crossover and overlap between the use of the words anxiety and stress.

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