Depression in Older Adults – Treatment, Statistics

Depression isn’t a usual companion for aged people. However, it exists because of the high risk of stressful situations that may eventually occur.

Various researches prove that depression is the most common illness associated with mental health in older people. All the signs of depression are often overlooked because they get mistaken for other illnesses of such kind. Unfortunate events may occur in any moment and this may trigger the apparition of the symptoms. This is a serious mental disease that has to be treated no matter the age.

older adult depression

older adult depression

What are the main risk factors?

The factors leading to the apparition of depression for older people may include:

  • Overall poor health condition (these include long-standing illness, mental health issues, cardio-vascular disease, and conditions associated with constant disability);
  • loneliness;
  • persistent discomfort;
  • sadness and grief.

Signs of depression in Older Adults

This illness is often being mistaken for natural changes related to the process of aging. It would even be tough for close friends and family to understand what is really going on.

The usual signs and symptoms aren’t any different from those experienced by younger population and these can include:

  • a permanent low mood;
  • apathy and loss of any interest for life and usual activities;
  • thoughts of worthlessness, a lack of interest for the future events;
  • social isolation;
  • signs of anxiety;
  • low energy levels and lack of enthusiasm;
  • constant pain and symptoms of discomfort associated with the digestive system, changes in weight.
  • insomnia;
  • changes in behavior, unwillingness to eat;
  • problems with personal hygiene;
  • loss of excessive appetite;
  • memory and concentration difficulties.

Why depression must be treated?

It is important to avoid any negative consequences that have the chances of developing together with depression. Treatment is required right after the patient has been diagnosed with it. Depression is already an insufferable condition, but it may have a further negative impact on relationships, health and ability to remain independent in life.

It is a very serious condition that is associated with an increased possibility of suicidal thoughts and even attempts.

older adult depression

older adult depression

Methods of treatment Depression in Older Adults

The treatment doesn’t really differ from the usual therapeutic methods used for younger people. The basis represents changes in lifestyle, a personalized diet and buying antidepressants. Medication should be prescribed by a psychiatrist or your family doctor. Treatment methods vary in depending on physical condition, severity of symptoms and other factors.

Depression caused by stress responds well to treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Depression caused by biological factors may involve antidepressants or physical treatment known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

Physical exercises and relaxation are sometimes enough for mild forms of depression. This kind of therapy proves to be effective against depression caused by non-biologic factors.

Sometimes, depression can be caused by medicine that’s taken to combat other conditions. This is where you have to consult your doctor and most probably stop taking this medicine or finding an alternative.

Preventive measures

The key to a life without depression is the healthy lifestyle which doesn’t take into account such destructive habits as smoking, poor diet and abuse of substances. Experts are finding evidence that points towards vascular diseases as a cause for appearance of depression. An increased risk is associated with conditions, such as: heart attack, stroke and transient ischemic attack. It is important to keep cholesterol levels in check for this matter.

Various activities can serve as factors that reduce the risk of developing depression later in life. Being regularly involved in various social activities and having an exercise routine is among the most important measures. Keeping your mind and soul active is also great for your mental health.

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