Depression in Old Age
AGING and DEPRESSION
We’ve talked about the gravity of depression in older people and we’ve learned that there isn’t a single cause for geriatric depression or a cure-all-treatment, either. Psychological, social, and biological factors play a role in its occurrence. Plus, aging-related complications contribute to it. Several problems that could lead to its onset include:
a family history of depression
traumatic life events (like abuse or neglect by loved ones)
low levels of brain chemicals (such as norepinephrine & serotonin)
transition from work to retirement
the reality & idea of death
extended substance abuse (e.g. alcohol)
the passing of friends & loved ones
chronic medical conditions
divorce or widowhood
Since isolation is one of the the top contributors for depression among seniors, a TedX presenter suggests that healing the epidemic of isolation will help them enjoy a fuller, happier, and healthier life.
It’s critical to treat depression in seniors as it immensely affects their physical and mental health AND emotional wellbeing. Yet they don’t often get help because they either get undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
When not given the treatment and care they need, depression can weaken their immune system, decrease appetites, and increase sleep problems and body aches. If left untreated, the person would oftentimes just succumb to illness altogether. Anxiety and depression in seniors is linked to greater risk of dementia and faster cognitive decline. Sadly, depression is the single most consequential risk factor for suicide among the elderly.
But, help is available and treatment is possible! In this interview, Dr. Madan, Chief of Psychiatry at Baycrest Health Sciences, helps us in understanding geriatric depression. If concerned about a friend/loved one, our therapist at Jarvis Hypnotherapy can provide effective intervention.