Letter: Symptom, not cause

Sir: Cornelius Katona assumes (letter, 1 June) that depression in lonely and frail old people is an illness that merits psychiatric treatment. This sounds like treating the symptom rather than the cause. Surely there is nothing pathological about becoming depressed and anxious when life becomes too difficult to cope with? The way of dealing with the problem must be to provide help, support and companionship for those who are lonely and frail, rather than medical intervention.

Yours faithfully,