Clinical depression isn’t very uncommon in the elderly. But that doesn’t make it normal. With nearly 10 million elderly sufferings from depression in India, only 10 percent go out of their way to treat it.
The probable cause would be the differences in the display of symptoms in individuals. Many times, people confuse depression with the side effects of medicines or the effects of multiple illnesses. The impact of depression is significantly different in the elderly as compared to younger people.
The occasional “blues” and feelings of sadness are normal in the elderly, but depression isn’t. In most cases, the elderly suffer from subsyndromal depression, a type that doesn’t meet the entire major depression diagnostic criteria. However, it could cause major depression if not treated on time.
Depression is known to affect the overall quality of life of an individual along with the increased suicidal risk.
Some of the symptoms commonly experienced in depression by the elderly include –
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Crying spells
- Lack of concentration
- Physical pains and aches
- Changes in appetite
As depression doesn’t spur out of a single cause, there isn’t just a single treatment for all individuals.
Finding the right treatment for the condition will take time, depending on a variety of personal factors. A typical treatment would involve a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Some of the medications used for treating depression include –
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
As mentioned earlier, lifestyle changes are also introduced for treating depression effectively. They include –
- Consuming a healthy and balanced diet
- Sleeping enough daily
- Visiting friends and family regularly
- Finding a new interest or hobby
- Increasing physical activity
When it comes to psychotherapy, numerous methods can be adapted to provide satisfactory results.
Talk therapy is probably the most common form of therapy. It is where the client sits with a mental health professional or a trained professional who helps them understand their emotions, feelings, and thoughts better. Doing so will assist in overcoming fears or changing behaviours to cope up with their feelings adequately. Art therapy is another treatment method used for treating depression in the elderly.
Help your elderly parents stay healthy and happy by providing them with the best living conditions.