Depression is a severe mental illness that requires careful attention. Depression affects almost everyone, even young children. We may not know, but people going through this problem know what it’s like to feel depressed.
Therapists and psychiatrists are there to solve this problem, but some people still don’t recover from depression. Everyone may feel this way for various reasons; thus, they shouldn’t be held responsible for it. Children, teens even the elderly can quickly go into depression by past traumas or current situations.
Primary symptoms of depression can be:
- Loss of pleasure in activities.
- Significant weight loss or gain.
- Decrease or increase in appetite.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Excessive or inappropriate guilt.
Risk factors leading to depression
There can be different reasons for depression. Some of them are
- Being single, unmarried, divorced, or widowed
- Certain medicines or combinations of medicines
- Family history of major depressive disorder
- Fear of death
- Living alone, social isolation
Older people and Depression
Even though depression of every individual should be taken seriously, in the case of elders, one should be very careful in handling them because they get susceptible to emotions in that stage of their life.
Although depression in adults may not be visible as in young people, they can cry out loud or have other means of expressing but in the case of older adults, usually very difficult to spot. They may sound it through a lack of energy or complaining too much. More senior folks can develop depression through other chronic illnesses as well. For example, people facing Parkinson’s disease may develop depression.
Approximately 6 million Americans aged 65 and older suffer from late-life depression. However, just 10% receive care. The most likely explanation is that elderly persons frequently have various depressive symptoms. Elderly depression is sometimes mistaken for the side effects of many illnesses and medications used to treat them.
Why is it dangerous for them?
Depression in elder folks can cause both physical and mental problems.
1. Can cause insomnia
Insomnia and depression are strongly linked together. So which one comes first? Both can go first. If older adults have poor sleeping habits, it may create difficulties in regulating their emotions that, in turn, may leave them more vulnerable to depression in the coming months or even years. And depression itself is linked to sleep problems, such as less restorative slow-wave sleep per night.
Insomnia treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy can help you get a decent night’s sleep again, preventing disorders like depression associated with insomnia.
Stroke survivors frequently feel depression. Changes in the brain’s biochemistry are often the cause. The victim with a brain injury might not be able to feel happy emotions. Depression is a typical psychological response to the losses brought on by a stroke. According to 2013 research, the chance of stroke increases with anxiety and depression levels.
In older persons, depression may double the risk of stroke. However, if depression persists for longer than four years, the risk of stroke in the following two years may get doubled. Depression may also result in physiologic changes like inflammation that increase the risk of stroke.
Pseudo-dementia is a disorder that resembles dementia but does not have neurological degeneration as its underlying cause. Frequently, it’s connected to depression. Pseudo-dementia can have various reasons, although depression might be the most frequent.
Aging results in regular cognitive and brain changes. It could be challenging to distinguish between aging-related changes and preliminary indications of depression or dementia, given the wide range of these changes. Additionally, someone can experience both depression and actual dementia simultaneously. It is why diagnosing pseudo-dementia can be time-consuming.
4. Feeling of loneliness
As people age, they get sensitive to emotions. They feel everything more deeply, focusing on every minor detail. Adults already feel lonely as they age, especially those with depression. They may get suffocated in their environment, already alone and isolated from their loved ones, which can severely affect them. That’s why they shouldn’t be left alone and should be provided with proper care, even respite senior care works.
5. Effected Social Life
An older person with untreated depression may lose interest in activities that had formerly sparked their attention and withdraw from social and physical activities, which may eventually cause a loss of function. Other signs may include difficulty concentrating, feelings of overwhelming guilt or low self-worth, a lack of hope for the future, suicidal or death thoughts, disturbed sleep, changes in appetite or weight, and feeling particularly exhausted or low on energy.