Aging and Depression

Aging and Depression

Depression is commonly not well recognized or detected while we get older. Symptoms such as sleep and appetite problems, sadness, or mood changes may be dismissed as a “normal” way of getting older. Symptoms such as memory difficulties and poor concentration may also be confused with other conditions such as dementia.

Older people are at greater risk of developing mental health symptoms because of the cumulative effect of numerous risk factors, including chronic isolation and illness.

Depression can minimize a person’s quality of life and their relationships with family and friends. Serious depression is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts. Among males, the highest suicide rate in the population is among those aged 85 and older.

Which symptoms of depression may I suffer while aging?

Some citizens feel irritable and some find it hard to concentrate. Depression makes life more difficult to control from day to day.

An older person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, they have:

  • felt sad, down, or miserable most of the time, or
  • lost interest or pleasure in most of their usual activities, and
  • experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.

Physical symptoms include:

  • agitation, hand wringing, pacing
  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • feeling tired all the time
  • digestive upsets, nausea, changes in bowel habits
  • slowed movement
  • significant weight loss or gain.
  • memory problems
  • unexplained headaches, backache, or pain
  • agitation, hand wringing, pacing
  • loss or change of appetite
  • feeling tired all the time

It’s necessary to note that everyone can develop some of these symptoms from time to time and it may not exactly mean that the person is depressed. Equally, not every person who is passing through depression will have all of these conditions.

Which Treatment Should I Follow

Distinct types of depression require other types of treatment, which may include:

  • psychological treatments
  • medical treatments for moderate to severe depression.
  • lifestyle changes (such as diet, physical exercise, and social supports) for preventing and treating symptoms of depression

The good news is that there is a variety of treatments, health specialists, and services ready to support people with depression. There are also many things that population with depression can do to support themselves.

The thing is that depression is unlikely to simply go away on its own. In fact, if ignored and left without treatment, depression can persist for months, sometimes years, and can have a lot of negative effects on a person’s life.

Some medical treatments for depression

If you’re passing through moderate to severe depression symptoms, your specialist may prescribe antidepressant medication, along with psychological treatments. Antidepressants are most of the time prescribed when other treatments have not been successful or when psychological treatments aren’t enough due to the severity of the situation or a lack of access to the medicine.

Also, older people may use different language to refer to their depression. Instead of saying that they suffer “sadness”, for instance, they may talk about “their nerves”.

Recognizing depression symptoms in older people

Depression can disturb memory and concentration, particularly while we get older. Sometimes people assume that problems with memory or concentration are due to age-related changes in thinking, rather than being due to depression. It is, therefore, necessary to think proactively about the possibility of depression and measure whether it may be present.

Depression among older people can be easily missed. Older people may find it difficult to recognize or talk about depression or feeling sad and may not consult for help. Symptoms of depression that would cause concern in a younger person, such as social withdrawal or insomnia, may be not attendant in older people as “just getting older”.