08 Apr Geriatric Depression
Psychological Articles on Elderly Problems
Psychological articles tell us that depression is a common occurrence in all age ranges. Yet while recognized in younger and middle aged persons, it is often neglected as an elderly problem. There are many contributing factors toward geriatric depression. Some causes include, loneliness, loss of motivation and anhedonia, (lack of pleasure in formerly pleasurable activities), and sheer boredom.
Psychological articles inform us that there is an important distinction between clinical depression and simply “feeling sad or blue”. Everyone gets to feeling down every now and then—sometimes for apparently no reason, but most of us are able to snap out of it relatively quickly. Someone that is clinically depressed however cannot be cajoled or cheered out of their depressed state. While it may start as a “normal” reactive emotion to grief, feelings of loss, or a generalized realization about one’s lack of immortality as well as dealing with other elderly problems, clinical depression may then progress into a prolonged “abnormal” psychological state that becomes an elderly problem that requires treatment.
As reported in psychological articles, there are numerous causes of depression, such as hormonal factors, stress, genetics (a family history of depression), serious medical illness, and chemical imbalances. According to the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) the signs and symptoms of depression are a general feeling of emptiness or sadness, a hopeless feeling, loss of interest in things that used to be of interest such as hobbies or other activities, loss of energy, difficulty with decision making or remaining focused, sleeplessness, unwillingness to get out of bed and start the day, thoughts of death or suicide, and being easily annoyed or angered, with these symptoms lasting for over a certain specified period of time, (not related to mourning) and significantly interfering with daily functioning. There are also physical signs and symptoms, that are particularly significant in children and as elderly problems that do not respond to conventional treatment such as headaches, upset stomach, or generalized pain.
It is important to watch for signs of this particular elderly problem so that loved ones in your life do not suffer needlessly. A good support system and careful attention to the way a senior responds to the changes in his or her life can make all the difference. Often elderly depression is overlooked because of lack of regular contact with family members. Physicians are even more likely to overlook depression, counting it off as just a normal part of aging and focusing only on the physical symptoms, especially if the patient has just experienced the loss of a spouse or some other potentially traumatic loss.
Unfortunately, if left untreated, there are many other possible unintended side effects that lead to co-commitant elderly problems such as alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse, and possibly even suicide. So please be aware of these symptoms and try to get someone to open up about their feelings if you think they may be depressed. Also, do not be afraid to confront a physician about it to take a better look at the patient.
This Psychological Article on Geriatric Depression is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of psychological articles on Elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
Boomer Yearbook contains Psychological Articles for Baby Boomers. Connect with old and new friends, or expand your mind and ward off senior moments and elderly problems with dream analysis and online optical illusions and brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join other Baby Boomers to stay informed, receive weekly Newsfeeds, and let your opinions be heard. Baby boomers changed the world. We’re not done yet!