As a severe medical condition, depression (major depressive disorder) impacts how you feel, think, and behave. It’s a good thing, too, since it’s curable. Depression is characterized by sorrow and diminished interest in once-enjoyable activities. Some mental and physical issues can arise, impairing your ability to carry out your daily tasks at work and in your personal life.
This, in turn, can necessitate home care services to help the elderly cope up with daily life. Depression has a different impact on the elderly than it does on the young. Depression is more common and lasts longer in the elderly when associated with other medical conditions and impairments.
Symptoms range from minor to severe, but the most common ones are listed here.
- Having a low mood or feeling down
- An absence of enjoyment or enthusiasm for things that one used to enjoy
- An increase or decrease in appetite that isn’t connected to dieting
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for long periods
- A reduction in energy or a rise in tiredness
- The capacity to sit still, pacing, or handwringing increases, as does the rate at which the person moves or speaks (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- A sense of worthlessness or remorse
- Mental or decision-making difficulties
- Suicidal or death-related thoughts
Depression’s Root Causes
Depression affects people of all ages for a variety of reasons. According to some studies, the illness can have a hereditary component. However, depression in the elderly is influenced by a combination of biological, social, and psychological variables.
When an old patient also has other medical problems and impairments, depression is common. Although depression in the elderly is possible, it is not a component of normal aging. Depression is a medical disease that can be managed if caught early enough. Senior citizens suffering from depression can have difficulty talking about it, and they can not realize that physical symptoms can be an indication of the disease.
Isolation may make it difficult for older individuals who are living on their own to ask for assistance. Listed below are a few of the most typical contributing factors:
- Essential neurotransmitter molecules in the brain are at dangerously low levels (such as serotonin and norepinephrine)
- History of depression in the family
- Injury or the loss of a loved one can reduce mobility due to life’s trauma
- Isolation in the face of impending death
- Going from working life to a retired one
- Monetary tribulations
- Extended usage of addictive substances
- Loss of close friends and family
- Divorce or a widowhood
- Medical problems that persist throughout time
What Treatments are Available for Depression?
Depression is one of the most easily remedied mental illnesses. Around 80% to 90% of individuals with depression will get better with therapy. Almost all patients see some improvement in their health after treatment. Medication and psychotherapy are the two main treatment options.
Brain chemistry can have a role in a person’s depression and therapy. Because of this, doctors can prescribe antidepressants to assist alter one’s brain chemistry. No sedatives, no “uppers,” and no tranquilizers are included in these drugs. They don’t become a part of your routine. People who are not depressed are often unaffected by antidepressant medicines since they do not need them.
Choosing the appropriate medicine to alleviate depression can be a time-consuming and challenging procedure to make matters worse. Some antidepressants can be dangerous for someone with a severe medical condition like heart disease, liver disease, or renal illness. You can not have had enough time to observe an impact, or the side effects can be too unpleasant — resulting in treatment failure.
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” can be used alone or in conjunction with antidepressants to treat mild to moderate depression. The word “psychotherapy” refers to the process of treating mental health issues by conversing with a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. The goal of psychotherapy is to help you better understand your mental health and how it affects your daily life.
Depressive disorders can be successfully treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT is a kind of treatment that focuses on resolving issues in the present rather than in the past. A person who uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) learns to identify distorted/negative thinking, change their ideas and actions, and react to problems more positively.
You can help an older person you care about who is depressed if you provide emotional support for that individual. Patience and compassion are vital while listening to a loved one. Being there to listen is all that’s required; trying to “cure” someone’s sadness would make things worse. Avoid criticizing the sentiments stated instead of pointing out the facts and expressing optimism in place of them. Make sure your loved one receives the proper diagnosis and treatment by watching out for them.