Depression in the Elderly

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Growing Old With Depression

Depression is a hard hitting mental disorder that can affect anyone at any age. Children, teenagers, young adults, and the elderly can all catch depression. What makes the elderly unique when it comes to depression however, is that they do not respond to depression the same way that children, teenagers or adults do. 

Lack of “Sadness”

Many elderly don’t respond to depression the same way other age categories do as they have different physiologies as them. Their advanced age means that the hormones running rampant in most teenagers and young adults are no longer present. This affects them by making many elderly not feel sadness at all and instead make them feel tired and have little to no energy.

Depression and Other Health Issues

Depression can come hand in hand with many ailments that an elderly person may have. This includes heart diseases and disorders. Death by “heartbreak” is a common occurrence in the elderly population as depression increases the risk of death after a heart attack. Depression also makes it easier for an elderly person to contract other health issues.

Mistaken for Other Mental Disorders

The signs of depression can be hard to distinguish from other mental disorders. One of the most common mental disorders in the elderly population is Alzheimers. Alzheimers is characterized by mood swings and grumpiness. These symptoms are also shared with depression. 

Helping The Elderly With Depression

Helping an elderly person with depression can be a challenge. However there are a few things you can do to help them overcome it. 

Be There for Them

One of the major causes of depression is social isolation. The elderly develop depression the same way a neglected child develops it. With this in mind, one of the best ways to prevent the onset of depression in the elderly is to be constantly interact with them. 

Medication

Like many mental disorders, antidepressants are a good answer to depression no matter how old or young you are. Antidepressants do have their downsides however. It does cost money to constantly be buying antidepressants and they have their own set of side effects that may or may not affect the elderly person taking them.

Therapy

Therapy is a great way for an elderly person to get outside help for their depression. The therapist can help the depressed person to change their outlooks and help them see the world in a new light. It helps them work through what caused their case of depression. One of the benefits of therapy is that it is nearly as effective as antidepressants in effectiveness when given to elderly patients.

As a person grows older, you can expect that they will change their outlooks in life by their experience. That is a normal part of growing older and even more so once a person reaches their senior years. However, what isn’t normal is the person suddenly shifting from a happy outlook in life to being depressed. It is important to get these people the help that they need to be able to live their lives happily.

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