As people age, they may begin to experience changes in their mood and energy levels. For some, this may lead to feelings of depression. Geriatric depression is a serious condition that can cause a person to feel hopeless, worthless, and helpless. If left untreated, it can have a devastating effect on both physical and mental health.
Geriatric Depression Is Often Underdiagnosed And Undertreated
Unfortunately, due to the myths and stereotypes surrounding mental health in older adults, depression is often underdiagnosed and undertreated in this population. The pervasive belief that “it’s normal for older adults to be sad” can result in family members or friends overlooking the signs of depression.
Many older adults are reluctant to seek help for mental health problems due to the stigma attached to mental illness. As a result, depression is often left untreated, leading to a decline in physical health and an increased risk of suicide.
Additionally, symptoms of depression can be mistaken for other conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
However, there are some key differences. For example, people with depression typically have a negative view of themselves and their future, whereas people with dementia or Parkinson’s disease do not. Additionally, the symptoms of depression generally come and go, whereas the symptoms of dementia or Parkinson’s disease tend to progress over time.
However, it is important to remember that depression is a real and treatable condition. There are a number of effective treatments for depression, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Medication is often the first line of defense, as it can help to stabilize mood swings and alleviate other symptoms. Therapy can also be extremely helpful, providing a space to process difficult emotions and develop coping mechanisms. In addition, lifestyle changes like regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet can also make a big difference. While depression is not easy to deal with, there are many ways to find relief. With the help of professionals and loved ones, recovery is possible. If someone you know is having depression, don’t hesitate to seek help.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 7 million American adults over the age of 65 suffer from depression. While the exact causes of geriatric depression are not fully understood, several risk factors have been identified. These include changes in brain chemistry, social isolation, chronic health problems, and the death of a loved one. Symptoms of geriatric depression can vary, but may include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
Elderly individuals who live alone or who have few close relationships are at increased risk for depression, as they may lack the support and connection that is essential for mental health. Additionally, those who suffer from chronic physical conditions such as heart disease or arthritis are also more likely to experience depression. The pain and disability associated with these conditions can make it challenging to maintain a positive outlook on life.
If you or a loved one are experiencing some of the symptoms of geriatric depression, don’t hesitate to seek help. There is no shame in seeking assistance; in fact, it could be the best decision you ever make. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can get on the path to feeling better again and enjoying life to its fullest.