Elderly Depression

Depression affects millions of healthy people everyday especially the elderly. In fact , elderly depression should be immediately given attention since this disorder can lead to suicide according to studies made by the National Institute of Mental Health. There have been studies made by Conwell and Brent that indicated the correlation of high suicide rates and depression among older adults. Apparently, adults fall into depression more likely than younger people. Contrary to popular belief, depression is not really normal among the elderly especially when these people are accomplished individuals who have enjoyed their family and career when they were much younger. As people grow older, their physical functioning becomes restricted as rheumatism, high blood pressure, diabetes and other disease affect the body. Nevertheless, this should not automatically lead to depression since there are many treatments and therapies available. In fact, doctors should advise the elderly patients to enjoy a normal lifestyle since they are now more free to pursue hobbies since their children are already adults.

When older people start to feel more “down” or “blue“ than normal, it is advisable to seek treatment. Relatives or caregivers of old people should seek consultation with a mental health professional once signs of depression such as social withdrawal, changes in eating/sleeping habits, chronic bouts of sadness and thoughts about death or dying are manifested . Also, depression can aggravate other illness experienced by the elderly or it can delay recovery.

Despite all these issues associated with elderly depression, there are many available treatments for depression among this group. One of the options is prescribing anti-depressant medications which can be done by a psychiatrist once assessment has been made on the patient. Due to the sensitive health condition of the elderly, newer medicines that belong to the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are being prescribed by doctors since these can be tolerated well by the elderly. SSRIs can improve the chemical imbalance in the brain thereby enhancing the mood of the patient.

Another recommended treatment for elderly depression is psychotherapy. In this treatment method, the elderly can share their thoughts about death and dying to a psychiatrist who are well-trained to deal with such concerns objectively. The sessions are considered therapeutic since most elderly people also need someone to talk with. More importantly, mental health professionals can combine prescription drugs and psychotherapy to produce better results in combating depression among the elderly.