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Occupational Therapy Shown to Ease Depression

Posted by Brian Spence on Sep 29, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Occupational Therapy, Allied Health, OTA recent study, reported by The Financial, shows that occupational therapy can reduce depression symptoms in patients with age-related macular degeneration.

The study focused on two groups of patients with macular degeneration. One group received six one-hour sessions with an occupational therapist while the second group received equal time in talk therapy with a counselor. Both groups received the same baseline evaluation and in-office training. The researchers reassessed the patients after four months.

Because occupational therapists helped their patients find effective ways to complete daily living activities with their declining vision, the researchers found that this group had a greater improvement in their ability to perform those tasks than their counterparts.

The researchers concluded that this improvement in functional ability lead to their greater improvement of depression levels.

The Financial interviewed Jason Clopton, O.D. who said the study shows what he and other optometrists have experienced in patients for years. Patients whose health conditions force them to scale back their activities tend to develop depression. Working with an occupational therapist to learn how to function within the scope of that condition improves the patients' mental outlook.

While the study focused on patients with macular degeneration, the findings suggest that occupational therapy could benefit any patient with depression related to decreased functionality. This is because, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association, the focus is on helping individuals to do the activities that they want and need to do. A key component of the therapy is adapting an individual's environment to fit the needs of the individual.

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