is a mood disorder in which the sufferer may appear chronically sad
or to have lost the ability to take pleasure in enjoyable
symptoms of depression are:
- a reduced
capacity or willingness to perform everyday tasks
- feelings of
guilt or worthlessness
- thinking or
talking about committing suicide
symptoms, such as chronic pain, a lack of energy, insomnia, and
appears most frequently in people aged 20 to 40, but it is
believed that up to one in five Americans aged 65 or older also suffer
from this disorder.
in nursing homes and other institutions appear at greater risk.
Depression that is associated with another medical condition
(especially devastating illnesses such as cancer or Parkinsonís
disease, or those that reduce a personís mobility, such as
arthritis) probably occurs more frequently in the elderly than in
people are ashamed to admit they have depression because it has long
been thought of as a psychological problem. But in recent years it
has been determined that depression is associated with changes in
brain chemistry, and that a physical predisposition may exist. This
expanded understanding of the physical factors involved have helped
promote the attitude that depression is an illness and not a sign of
a weak personality.
are numerous ways to treat depression, and the best treatment
vary from person to person and with the severity of the condition.
Some people will need private visits with a psychiatrist, while
others will benefit from group therapy that teaches strategies for
coping with stress or other behavior modification techniques. Many
individuals with depression require prescription medications.
of the drugs used for treatment of depression are:
serotonin reuptake inhibitors
or newer antidepressants and
physician will take particular care in choosing drug therapy for
elderly people with depression, because they may already be taking
medications for other conditions, and because their bodies do not
always metabolize antidepressant agents as rapidly as those of
can be devastating and disabling, but modern treatments are usually
very effective. If you or someone you know is showing signs of this
disorder, seek the assistance of a physician or other health care