Geriatric Depression: The Dark Horse of Diseases

Depression is a very serious disease. And contrary to popular belief, it is just that: a disease. Too often, depression is deemed as a psychological “ailment” rather than an actual sickness. It’s a disease that affects over 7 million Americans ages 65 and older. Unfortunately, however, geriatric depression can go  unrecognized by both physicians and those experiencing the incredibly devastating symptoms.

Depression Symptoms

  • Sadness
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Crying spells
  • Apathy
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Withdrawal
  • Sleep issues
  • Little to no appetite/increased appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Physical aches and pains

Causes of Geriatric Depression

Many physicians believe that the commonality of depression in older adults has a lot to do with the major social changes that come with aging. Social support systems often weaken due to the deaths, retirement, or relocation of a spouse, siblings, or friends. Because of this, signs of depression are often mistaken for temporary sadness or loneliness. Chronic illnesses and joint pains can be a factor in the development of this disease as well. Constantly battling to do daily activities can take a toll on the mind. Also, older adults tend to be more independent mentally. This can cause isolation and lead to depression as well.

Depression - the Dark Horse of Diseases

Treatment and Healing

The first step to treating geriatric depression is recognizing the problem. Understanding the symptoms and seeking help paves the way to recovery. First talking to family, friends, or a physician will create a support system, and in turn, establish a sense of motivation. While there are many prescription medicines, there are a few natural remedies to help treat depression as well.  Getting into a routine will allow the mind to set goals, increasing endorphins. Exercise and a healthy diet are also good for depression. Ian Cook, MD, says that foods with omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid can help alleviate depression. Also, trying new things and getting involved with the community will create socialization, which is a necessity for the human being. If these remedies don’t work, it’s important to contact a physician right away to get the proper care and support. Depression is very much a treatable disease.

Last updated: 07.14.2018

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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