As we grow older, we often face significant life changes that can increase the risk for depression. These can include: Health problems. Illness and disability, chronic or severe pain, cognitive decline, damage to your body image due to surgery or sickness can all be contributors to depression.
Physical conditions like stroke, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and chronic pain further increase the risk of depression. Additionally, these risk factors for depression are often seen in older adults: Certain medicines or combination of medicines.
There is evidence that some natural body changes associated with aging may increase a person’s risk of experiencing depression. Recent studies suggest that lower concentrations of folate in the blood and nervous system may contribute to depression, mental impairment, and dementia.
There’s no single cause of depression. It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers. For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause. Different causes can often combine to trigger depression.
Any changes in an older person’s mood, hobbies, activity level and personality are often attributed to aging, and the possibility of mental illness is not considered. Another likely reason for mental health conditions like depression to be underdiagnosed is due to outdated attitudes about mental health.
Depression is a common problem among older adults, but clinical depression is not a normal part of aging. In fact, studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems than younger people. 5
SSRIs considered to have the best safety profile in the elderly are citalopram, escitalopram, and sertraline.
Rising income inequality may have more impact on a mature adults than that of adolescents. With the economic downturn of the late 2000s, mature adults over the age of 30 often realize they will not achieve the financial goals they had envisioned for their life. Often, this results in an increase in sadness and anxiety.
Depression can make us physically older by speeding up the ageing process in our cells, according to a study. Lab tests showed cells looked biologically older in people who were severely depressed or who had been in the past.
Question: Do we get sadder as we get older? Answer: It seems that just the opposite is true. There’s a lot of evidence that we get happier the older we get. A Gallup telephone poll of 340,000 people across the U.S. showed that happiness comes with age.
Depression is not a condition that has one specific cause. It can happen for many different reasons and have many triggers. Usually, depression doesn’t work quickly or suddenly. The four major causes of depression are:
Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.
There’s growing evidence that several parts of the brain shrink in people with depression. Specifically, these areas lose gray matter volume (GMV). That’s tissue with a lot of brain cells. GMV loss seems to be higher in people who have regular or ongoing depression with serious symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults
Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness. Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters. Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
Depression is a true and treatable medical condition, not a normal part of aging. However older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression. If you are concerned about a loved one, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider to be diagnosed and treated.