Depression in Older Adults




  1. Depression is a common problem with older people.  True or False?


The answer is True.  According to WEB MD, clinical depression affects about 6 million Americans age 65 and older. Yet, only 10% of these individuals receive treatment!


  1. Side effects from surgeries and medications often result in doctors having a more difficult time recognizing depression with the elderly.  True or False?


This is also true.  With doctors helping to manage many conditions with older persons, depression can be overlooked.  This is especially the case because many older patients tend to “experience” their depression through physical complaints more so than emotional.  They often report trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating and loss of appetite.


  1. Treatment of depression with older adults necessitates ruling out common physical conditions that can cause depression with people who have never been depressed before.  True or False?


It is True.  For older adults who experience depression for the first time later in life, the depression may be related to changes that occur in the brain and body as a person ages. Certain medications or conditions can also cause symptoms similar to depression. Doctors can rule out these factors by completing physical exams and lab tests.


If you suspect that you, or a loved one, are having symptoms of Depression, the good news is that help is available.  Those with depression need understanding, a good listener, and a referral for treatment.  Professional treatment for depression usually consists of medication or counseling, or both.  With these aids, most return to a much healthier and happier life!


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