The resounding mantra of geriatric psychology repeats that depression isn't a natural ingredient in the aging process. No doubt, growing old is synonymous with it a host of challenging scenarios that include physical disabilities, loss of family and friends, increased dependence on others and so on. A frequent byproduct of those conditions is depression, and 15 out of 100 adults over 65 years old in the United States are afflicted by it. But depression doesn't automatically go hand in hand with aging. Moreover, when depression in the elderly is identified and therapy is provided, patients have an 80 percent recovery.
For anyone wrestling with depression, the daily struggle it presents can be incapacitating. Affiliated behaviors include loss of appetite, withdrawal and insomnia. Among the elderly especially, depression can lead to and stir up physical illnesses. It's also the foremost cause of suicide. The connection between geriatric depression and suicide is most prominently seen in white men over the age of 80; this cohort has double the suicide rate of the general population. Untreated severe depression isn't due to a lack of medical care. Seventy percent of elderly suicide victims have been examined by a primary care physician in the last 30 days. Perhaps, as the statistic implies, doctors are missing the symptoms of depression.
Recognizing depressive symptoms in the elderly is easier said than done. Clinical depression is one of the most prevalent medical illnesses across the globe, but it can be far more elusive in an older person. For one thing, the physical and cognitive disorders that may affect the elderly can cover depressive symptoms. Additionally, older patients may be more reluctant to seek treatment for depression because of a social stigma or just because there is no one to with whom to talk. As a result, caregivers and healthcare providers often don't see it.
In 2011, the first of the 78 million baby boomers will reach age 65. The healthcare industry is preparing for that milestone when the elderly population in the United States will balloon and the consequential ripples will be felt by caregivers and the entire medical and healthcare industries. In order to lower that high incidence rate of depression, we must first comprehend depression's unique symptoms in older patients.