Reactionary depression is a common form of depression in elderly. Some contributing factors may include loss of spouse, changes in lifestyle, difficulty adapting to changing circumstances such as moving from living in a home to a nursing home and memory loss. Depression in elderly could be a result of chronic illnesses. Certain medications have also been linked to depression in elderly. As people age they become biologically vulnerable to depression. This is because of dysregulation of brain neurotransmitter secretion. An elderly person suffering from an illness is prone to develop depression.
Depression in elderly is often overlooked because the physical symptoms of depression are thought to be age related. These symptoms include loss of appetite, sleep difficulty, reduced libido, fatigue, temper, agitation, etc. Signs of depression to look out for are excessive crying, waking up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, and feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness. “Of the nearly 35 million Americans age 65 and older, an estimated 2 million have a depressive illness (major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, or bipolar disorder) and another 5 million may have “subsyndromal depression,” or depressive symptoms that fall short of meeting full diagnostic criteria for a disorder.”(National Institute of Mental Health)
Treatment for depression in elderly depends on the individual and his personal circumstances. A physician usually looks at the patient’s history, performs a physical exam, and runs lab tests to determine the cause of depression. In addition to the medical counseling it is important that the individual make changes in their lifestyle and daily routine. There are many options for dealing with depression. Based on the statistics depression in elderly is quite common. A few ways a person can combat elderly depression are complementary medicine, developing healthy sleeping patterns, and positive thinking.