Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

At first glance, it seems that diagnosing depression in the elderly is easy; However, many signs of sadness can be seen, including crying and withdrawal.

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

At first glance, it seems that diagnosing depression in the elderly is easy; However, many signs of sadness can be seen, including crying and withdrawal.

But depression, like many other illnesses, often presents differently in older people than in younger people. will be For example, a depressed older person may not necessarily feel sad, but may complain of a lack of energy and attribute symptoms to their age, which can make it more difficult for doctors, loved ones, and the elderly themselves to diagnose geriatric depression. The fact that some medications and medical conditions can also cause depression complicates matters and makes it difficult to diagnose and treat depression in the elderly.

In fact, when an elderly person has untreated depression, their interest may lose access to activities he previously enjoyed, and withdraw from social interaction and physical activity, which may eventually lead to the loss of vital daily functions. This is one of the important reasons that any change in a person's behavior should not be considered simply part of the "aging" process.

While depression is more common in older people than in younger people, the problem is that if Even doctors probably ignore it. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that general practitioners spend very little time discussing mental health with their older patients and are unlikely to refer them to a mental health specialist, even if they show classic symptoms of geriatric depression. .

In the rest of this article from BingMag, we will examine the signs, symptoms and treatment methods of depression in the elderly, so if you are elderly yourself or an elderly person lives with you, stay with us until the end of the article.


  • What is depression in the elderly?
  • Risk factors of depression in the elderly
  • Diagnosis and treatment of depression in the elderly
  • Prevention of Depression in the elderly
  • Treatment of depression in the elderly at home
  • Herbal treatment of depression in the elderly
  • Depression in the elderly

What is geriatric depression?

geriatric depression is a serious mood disorder. This disorder can affect the way you feel, function, and think. Depression is a common problem among older adults, but clinical depression is not a normal part of the aging process. In fact, studies show that most seniors feel more satisfied with their lives despite having more illnesses or physical problems than younger people. However, if you experienced depression when you were young, you may be more likely to develop geriatric depression as you age.

As mentioned, geriatric depression is a serious disorder and treatments are available to treat it. . In fact, most people with geriatric depression get better with treatment. Counseling, medication, or other forms of treatment can help. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have depression.

There are different types of geriatric depression that older people may experience:

  • Disorder Major depression: includes symptoms lasting at least two weeks that interfere with a person's ability to perform daily tasks.
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia): Mood Depressed that lasts more than two years, but the person may still be able to perform daily tasks, unlike someone with major depressive disorder.
  • Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder:
  • strong> Depression related to the use of substances such as alcohol or pain medications
  • Depressive disorder due to a medical condition: Depression related to a separate medical condition, such as heart disease or multiple sclerosis.

Other forms of depression in the elderly include psychotic depression, postmenopausal depression and seasonal affective disorder.

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Risk factors of depression in the elderly

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

There are many things that may be considered as risk factors for depression in the elderly. For some people, changes in the brain can affect mood and lead to depression. Others may experience depression after a major life event, such as a medical diagnosis of cancer or the death of a loved one. Sometimes, those who are under a lot of stress, especially those caring for loved ones with a serious illness or disability, may feel depressed. Others may become depressed for no apparent reason.

Research has shown that these factors are associated with the risk of depression in older adults, but do not necessarily cause depression:

  • Medical problems, such as stroke or cancer
  • Genes, people with a family history of depression may be at higher risk.
  • Stress, including caregiver stress
  • Sleep problems
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity
  • Functional limitations that make it difficult to participate in activities of daily living.
  • Addiction including in the disorder Substance-induced depression

Social isolation and depression in the elderly

All people need social connections to survive and thrive. But as people get older, they spend more time alone. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression.

If you feel socially isolated or lonely and can't visit friends and family for whatever reason, try reaching out by phone. Get or join a virtual club. Find strategies to help you be more connected.

  • 12 Small Everyday Habits That Affect Our Mood

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Diagnosis and treatment of depression in the elderly

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

How to find out Do you think you or your loved ones may have depression? Does depression look different with age? Diagnosing depression in older people can be difficult because older people may have different symptoms than younger people. For some older people with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. Instead, they may feel more numb or disinterested in everyday activities, or they may not be as willing to talk about their feelings.

Below is a list of common symptoms of depression. However, because people experience depression differently, there may be symptoms that are not on this list.

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or feeling "empty" all the time.
  • >
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness, or difficulty sitting
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, including sex
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Slower moving or talking
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, morning Waking up early or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than usual, usually accompanied by unplanned weight gain or loss.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempted suicide

If you have several of these signs and symptoms that last longer than two weeks, talk to your doctor. These can be signs of depression or another illness. Don't Ignore the Warning Signs If serious depression is left untreated, it can lead to suicide.

If you are a health care provider to an older person, ask them how they are feeling during visits. Research has shown that intervention during primary care visits is highly effective in reducing suicide later in life. If you are a family member or friend, watch out for clues. If someone of any age says they feel depressed, sad, or empty for a long time, listen carefully. That person may actually be asking for help. Knowing the warning signs of suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

Depression can look different depending on a person's cultural background

The signs and symptoms of depression depend on the person and the context. His culture can look different. People from different cultures may express emotions, moods, and mood disorders, including depression, in different ways. In some cultures, depression may manifest as physical symptoms such as pain, headaches, muscle cramps, or digestive problems.

  • How do different foods affect our mood?

How is depression in the elderly treated?

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

Depressive disorder and even severe depression, It can be treated. It is important to seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider.

Some medications or medical conditions can sometimes cause symptoms similar to depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities through a physical examination, knowledge of your health and personal history, and laboratory tests. If your doctor finds that there are no medical conditions that cause depression, he or she may recommend a psychological evaluation and refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, for testing. This assessment helps determine the diagnosis and treatment plan.

Common forms of depression treatment include:

  • Psychotherapy, counseling, or "Talking therapy" that can help a person identify and change their troubling feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This may be done with a psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health care professional. Examples of specific approaches to treating depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
  • Medications Depression, which may balance hormones that affect mood, such as serotonin. There are several types of common antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressants commonly prescribed to older adults. A psychiatrist, mental health nurse, or primary care physician can prescribe and help monitor medications and possible side effects.
  • Electric Shock Therapy (ECT), which is During it, electrodes are placed on the person's head so that a safe and mild electric current passes through the brain. This type of treatment is usually only considered if a person's condition has not improved with other treatments.
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which uses a magnet to activate The brain uses rTMS does not require anesthesia and only targets specific areas of the brain to help reduce side effects such as fatigue, nausea or memory loss that can occur with ECT.

Drugs and the elderly

With age, body changes can affect how drugs are absorbed and used. Because of these changes, the risk of drug interactions can be greater among the elderly. Share information about all medications and supplements you take with your doctor or pharmacist.

Treatment, especially a combination of psychotherapy and medication, has been shown to be effective for older adults. However, not all medications or treatments are right for everyone. Treatment options are different for each person, and sometimes several treatments must be tried before finding the one that works. It's important to let your doctor know if your current treatment plan isn't working and keep trying to find something that works.

Some people may consider complementary health approaches like yoga to improve well-being and coping. Try with stress. However, there is little evidence that these approaches, alone, can successfully treat depression. While they can be used in combination with other treatments prescribed by a doctor, they should not replace medical treatment. Talk to your doctor about what treatment(s) might be good.

Depression in People With Dementia

Depression in People With Alzheimer's and Common Related Diseases Is. Dementia can cause some of the same symptoms as depression, and depression can be an early warning sign of possible dementia. Suicide attempts may also increase in people recently diagnosed with dementia. It is important to have support systems in place to help cope with a diagnosis of dementia and the possible symptoms of depression that follow. More research is needed to determine effective depression treatment options for people with dementia.

  • 6 Practical Tips for Starting an Independent Life

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Prevention of depression in the elderly

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Be physically active and eat a healthy and balanced diet. This may help prevent diseases that can cause disability or depression in the elderly. Some diets, including a low-sodium diet, have been shown to reduce the risk of depression in the elderly.
  • Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family.
  • Participate in activities you enjoy.
  • Tell friends, family, and your doctor when you experience symptoms of depression.

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Treatment for elderly depression at home

Elderly depression is a medical condition that requires treatment by a doctor. While family and friends can help by providing support in finding treatment, they cannot cure a person's depression.

As a friend or family member of someone with geriatric depression, here are some things you can do: Here's what you can do:

  • Encourage the person to seek medical treatment and stick to the treatment plan the doctor prescribes.
  • Make medical appointments. Or help accompany the person to the doctor's office or a support group.
  • Participate in activities the person likes to do.
  • Ask if the person wants to go for a walk or bike ride. Physical activity can be a great mood booster.

Talking to friends and family about suicide

It is important to watch for signs and symptoms of senior depression or suicide. Asking if a family member or friend is feeling depressed or suicidal Do not be shy. It can be an uncomfortable conversation, but it's an important one. Asking if someone is having suicidal thoughts does not make them more likely to do so. Your questions may help the person talk about how they're feeling and encourage them to seek treatment.

  • 7 Signs You're Emotionally Mature

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Herbal treatment of depression in the elderly

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

Herbal medicines have been used around the world for centuries to treat depression and anxiety. Especially, Western societies have turned from prescription drugs to traditional herbal treatments. In fact, there are some herbal options with proven effectiveness that may be worth trying.

One in four women in the United States is currently on psychiatric medication.


According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the use of antidepressants in the United States among adolescents and adults (those aged 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1994-1988 and 2008-2005. .

Federal government health statisticians estimate that 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants. And by their calculation, antidepressants were the third most commonly prescribed drug by Americans in 2005-2008, the most recent period during which the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected data on prescription drug use.

Here are some other notable statistics from the Antidepressant Report:

  • 23 percent of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants, more than any other group (based on age or sex).
  • Women are 2.5 times more likely than men to take antidepressants.
  • 14% of non-Hispanic whites take antidepressants, compared to only 4% of non-Hispanic blacks and 3 percent of Mexican Americans use these drugs.
  • Less than a third of Americans who take only one antidepressant (versus two or more) have seen a health care professional in the past year
  • Use of antidepressants does not vary by income status.

So is it a good thing that more Are Americans using antidepressants? Many (perhaps most) mental health professionals say yes, because depression is treatable and because antidepressants work.

But there are many critics, as in this review in the New York Review. of books have been shown, which say its benefits are overstated and drug company marketing is responsible for increasing prescriptions.

Some experts believe modern lifestyles make us more depressed, while others think heavy advertising It's overprescribed by pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

But any way you look at it, more people than ever are taking antidepressants, and natural alternatives that work are needed more than ever.


Do antidepressants work?

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

A meta-analysis of all antidepressant studies from 1990 to 2009 showed that there was a significant improvement in depression only in the severely depressed group, which constituted only about 13% of all depressed patients.

The effect of antidepressants on mild to moderate depression with There was no straw. This means that participants without antidepressants may have improved their chances as well.

If you are taking an antidepressant and feel it is working for you, keep taking it! However, for some, antidepressants are not effective and/or have side effects that make them undesirable. For those looking for alternative treatments, there are some herbal options that may be worth trying.

Which herbs are effective for treating anxiety and depression in the elderly?


Damiana, originally used by Central American natives for frayed nerves and depression, induces feelings of happiness and contentment. This flavorful desert herb is both an aphrodisiac and an antidepressant.

Like modern jazz and a gentle ocean breeze, Damiana contains chemicals that affect the brain and nervous system. It is a soothing and mild herb that can be quite effective and beneficial. The Mayans are thought to have drunk a sweet Damiana tea to stimulate love.

Gal rai (Mary thistle)

Gal rai extract, known as St. John's wort, has been used for centuries to It is used to treat depression. The drink is thought to increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and improve mood, possibly by reducing the body's production of cortisol (a stress-related hormone).

Tread carefully, ladies. St. John's wort may cause problems with oral contraceptives. It may also be less effective for severe or chronic depression not be But for mild depression, give it a try.


Widely considered a weed, barnajassef has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments from Flatulence is used for fertility. Ancient Romans put it in their sandals to prevent fatigue. It was also believed to protect people from evil spirits. In fact, some even put it inside their pillow to induce lucid dreams. Ancient Chinese medicine suggests that it can improve energy and stimulate the circulatory system. As an analgesic, brinjal is useful for calming the mind due to its sedative properties. And it's probably growing right on your front lawn. It has a long history as a medicinal plant for the treatment of depression. Calamus, also known as sweet flag (not to be confused with black flag), is a medicinal root used in ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to induce relaxation. This plant works to interact with GABAA receptors. Its sweet flavor strengthens memory, stimulates the nervous system and brain, and reduces depression. It is one of the most common herbal remedies used by the Chippewa people, an aboriginal tribe in western Canada.


Folate is a type of B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, Enriched beans, bread and cereals are found. Folate works to increase the mood of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin. Placebo-controlled studies showed an increased response to folic acid (a synthetic version of folate) in women in particular.

Many people who suffer from depression are deficient in folate. However, people with low folate levels are less likely to get relief from antidepressants. Folate is well absorbed by the body and does not interfere with other drugs.


Saffron, nicknamed "sunny spice", is a plant made from dried crocus flowers. Scientists have found that it can be helpful in treating mild to moderate depression. Studies show that saffron may contribute to antidepressant effects by balancing dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. Ancient Greeks used saffron to enhance libido, improve mood and improve memory. Try it, feel good and still remember where your car keys are.


Lavender is a plant that is widely cultivated for its calming effects. It is known. It may be a useful herb to relieve depression. A 2003 study compared the effectiveness of lavender tincture with the antidepressant imipramine. It also helps to reduce stress and improve mood. And it makes you smell good.

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Senior aging

BingMag.com Elderly depression; Risk factors, diagnosis and treatment

Making sick in the elderly is actually pretending to be sick to get benefits. The apparent illness can be mental or physical. This type of abuse also occurs when a person exaggerates the symptoms of an illness for this purpose.

The term malingering was first used to describe soldiers who tried to avoid military service in the 1900s. This meaning has been expanded to include those who pretend to be ill for other reasons.

Reasons for this type of elder abuse

People can have various reasons for their deception. This includes:

  • Receiving medication such as painkillers
  • Getting attention
  • Avoiding military service
  • Taking time off from school or Workplace
  • Avoiding legal action

What are the signs of depression?

Determining whether a person's symptoms are real or fake can be difficult. Those in the health and legal professions often have to make decisions based on the DSM-5 guidelines.

Having two of the following four symptoms is possible:

  • The person has a medical or legal condition that can be cured by a specific diagnosis.
  • Observers can see a difference between what the person claims to feel and the physical symptoms of the illness.
  • >Subject does not follow treatments or return for follow-up care.
  • Subject has antisocial personality disorder.

Of course, some health professionals feel these criteria are inadequate.

This article is only for education and information purposes. Be sure to consult an expert before using the recommendations in this article. For more information, read BingMag's disclaimer.

Sources: WebMD, National Institute on Aging, Health Matters, Bear Blend, Mental Health Food, WebMD

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