Friday, July 15, 2016

Spotting Depression in Older Adults

Are you struggling with feelings of despair? Are you constantly exhausted emotionally? Is it hard to find joy in the things you once loved? Do you feel like your just not able to be yourself?
These are symptoms of depression. If you are experiencing depression you may feel hopeless. The good news is that depression responds well to treatment and it doesn’t have to weigh down on you. With the right support, treatment and strategy – you can enjoy your life again and feel whole again.
Depression can be a problem at any age and it is common among many older adults. The symptoms of depression impact many aspects of your life. Your sleep hygiene, energy level, relationships and performance at work are all aspects of your life that are affected.

The sooner you recognize the warning signs of depression the easier it is to manage. It’s unfortunate that many seniors suffer from depression without treatment. Many people either fail to spot the warning signs or they fail to take steps toward treatment. There are numerous reasons why depression among seniors goes unnoticed:
·       Some people think that depression is a natural part of aging or that there are good reasons to be depressed.
·       Isolation can not only cause depression, it may prevent others from noticing your troubles.
·       It can be hard to talk about the subject of depression or ask for help. 
Being able to recognize the symptoms and signals of depression is key to getting appropriate care. Elderly people who are isolated and living alone may be at a higher risk for depression. They may have extremely pervasive feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem. Being alone for long periods of time typically makes things worse. There are certain events to look out for that may trigger depression. The recent loss of a loved one, medical problems, retirement and isolation are all potential triggers.

Main Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Seniors

Pervasive feelings of sadness are the most obvious symptom. If you notice your friend or loved one is more sad than usual, this could be a sign of depression.
Trouble sleeping is also a key indicator of a mood disorder. Poor sleep is a red flag for depression. This includes the inability to sleep, restlessness, oversleeping, not sleeping enough and constant waking. Below are some other common signs to look out for:
·       Decreased appetite and/or weight loss. 
·       Feelings of fatigue or extreme tiredness.
·       Lost interest in activities that he/she once enjoyed.
·       Never leaving the home and/or isolating. Always coming up with excuses to stay home at all costs.
·       Increased intake of alcohol or drugs.
·       Lack of motivation and low energy level.
·       Constant complaining about aches and pains.
·       Feelings of anxiousness.
·       Memory loss problems.
·       Apathy or indifference.
·       Slowed speech and movement.

Underlying Conditions May Cause Depression

Underlying health problems can also lead to depression. There are various health conditions that can drastically increase feelings of depression. A few of the usual suspects include thyroid disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, heart problems and stroke.
Medications can also be the cause of depression symptoms. Make sure to carefully read all the labels of any medication that is being taken. Before taking any medications, ask the doctor about any side effects.
There are many common prescription drugs that list depression as a side effect. Those who take more than one medication are especially at risk. Older adults are more prone to the mood related side effects in particular. As we age it our bodies cannot process drugs as efficiently as they did when we were younger, making side effects more prevalent. Below are some medications with depression as a side effect.
·       Steroids
·       Anxiety Medication
·       Sleeping Pills
·       Blood Pressure Medication
·       Beta Blockers
·       Tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax, Halcion
·       Medications for Parkinson’s disease
·       Drugs containing reserpine
·       Ulcer medications
·       Steroids such as prednisone or cortisone
·       Pain relievers for arthritis
·       Estrogen

It’s important to recognize the signs of depression early. Depression can be a serious condition, but it responds well to treatment. If you or someone you care for is depressed, we can help. Total Home Health Inc. can connect you to a professional to answer your questions and get you on the right track.

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