Depression

  1.  Depression

  2.  FOR a CDC Brief on Depression click here-  www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/briefs.htm

    For Resources on Depression Click Here

    For More Information about Depression Click Here

    For Information On Caregiving Click Here

    For Information on Holiday Blues Click Here

  3. This is a fairly common disorder but is not a normal part of the aging process. It can and should be addressed.

    Things You Should Know:

    Depression

    • may be overlooked by caregivers and providers
    • may be associated with medical problems (e.g., cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, etc.), surgical procedures, trauma( ex.- car accident, loss of a spouse, etc.)
    • may diminish an individual's ability to recover from illness/accident
    • may increase the risk of suicide (higher for elders than any other age group)
    • may be confused with bereavement or grief (a reaction to a specific loss)

    Some Signs or Symptoms May Include:

    • having more or less sleep
    • eating more (with weight gain) or less (with weight loss)
    • loss of energy
    • loss of pleasure in ordinary activities
    • difficulty making decisions
    • persistent low mood or apathy
    • low self-esteem
    • expressions of hopelessness and /or helplessness
    • thoughts about dying, expressing desire to die, and/or making suicide attempt(s)
    • feels irritated or annoyed by little things
    • relationships with family and/or friends may be diminished and/or distant

    Symptoms should persist for two weeks or more and may occur continuously or in cycles for years. Some individual symptoms may not reflect depression at all (could be a medical illness, medication problem, etc.). The presence of four or more symptoms can be a key indicator.

    In any case don't wait until you are sure. Contact a professional to get an assessment and to identify appropriate steps.

    Depression is Treatable

    Treatment Choices may Include:

    • Counseling( often with a social worker, nurse, psychologist, and at times with a psychiatrist). There are many forms of counseling.
    • Medications. There are many choices and you should ask a physician which one makes sense. A medication (and the dosage, frequency, etc.) may for one individual but not another. Some people will have to try different medications before finding one that works. Many will respond effectively.
    • A combination of counseling and medications works well for many.
    • Electroconvulsive treatment can be successful and appropriate for some but only with a physician's involvement and participation. Today, this can be a safe choice for the right individual.
    • Hospitalization can be useful on a short-term basis.

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