Many of us consider depression to function as hallmark hint
of melancholy. In some, reality
Depression is experienced by individuals without a lot of sorrow and tearfulness.
Depression without depression sounds just like a mental health
oxymoron, but it’s a very real condition that is especially common in old
Grownups. But because other symptoms of depression are
present — trouble concentrating, fatigue, rumination
— it too often gets dismissed as “just becoming old.”
Overlooking the signs of depression in seniors
can be a dangerous error. The greatest rates of suicide occur in men over the
Age of 85, and studies show that many of these guys and their physicians had visited with in
The month before their suicide their melancholy wasn’t
“Older people don’t always say ‘I am
depressed.’ They have a tendency to focus on physical symptoms instead of on sadness,”
says Vineeth John, MD, associate professor of psychiatry in the University of
Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “The diagnosis is often missed.”
of Depression Sans Sadness
Melancholy is not a standard part
Of aging, despite the fact that the symptoms are often mistaken as so.
“Although aged people with depression may
have classic melancholy symptoms such as hopelessness, they may
also express their sadness as headache or nonspecific aches and pains,”
explains Dr. John. “This may result inside them being given pain drugs
instead of being treated for their depression.”
Hints of melancholy without sadness contain:
- Character changes
- Isolation and loss of
- Loss of desire and loss
- Agitation and
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Inferior focus
- Deterioration in home and
at Risk for Depression in Old Age?
“Changes in the mind and illnesses that happen
In aging may make it harder for the elderly to cope with pressure and conform to
change, but depression isn’t a normal element of aging,” says John. Still, particular
risk factors raise the risk of depression in the elderly — and knowing
these risk factors may help doctors and loved ones spot melancholy (and beginning
Risk factors include:
- Loss of a spouse
- Lack of mobility and
- Change in living
- Chronic illness
- Recent heart attack or
- Usage of alcohol or drugs
Melancholy Is Diagnosed and Treated
“Sometimes the best person to recognize signs
Of depression in the elderly is a friend or relative who knows the elderly
person’s degree of operating well and finds a significant change,”
A diagnostic may be used by mental health professionals
Program called the Geriatric Depression Scale to help diagnose depression in the
elderly. A number of the questions asked on the scale comprise:
- Have you ever dropped many of
your interests and tasks?
- Can you stay at
Home than go out and do things that are new?
- Does one dread that
something bad is going to happen for you?
- Would you believe you’ve got more
Problem with memory than most people?
- Would you believe you are full
Doctors must factor in the consequences of all
Medications being taken and hunt for medical conditions including Parkinson’s
Alzheimer’s disease, or disease, thyroid disorders that increase the danger of
“The good news is that depression in the
elderly is very treatable, just as it’s in younger adults,” notes John.
“And treating depression may also enhance the symptoms of other coexisting
Aging and melancholy don’t always go hand in hand,
but this is a common problem that often gets missed. Knowing the risk factors and
Signals of depression (even when despair isn’t one of them), yet, can help
prevent an identification.