Depression is less prevalent among older adults than among younger adults but can have serious consequences. Over half of cases represent a first onset in later life. Although suicide rates in the elderly are declining, they are still higher than in younger adults and more closely associated with depression .
Prevalence of depression among older adults According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects about 1%-5% of the general elderly population , 13.5% in elderly who require home healthcare, and 11.5% in older hospital patients.
This means that women ages 40 to 59 have the highest rate of depression (12.3 percent ) of any group based on age and gender in the U.S., according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all other age groups as well, women had higher rates of depression than men did.
It is estimated that 20% of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern (6). The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder ) (6). Mental health issues are often implicated as a factor in cases of suicide.
Depression is frequently overlooked in older individuals, in part because their condition is often expressed in physical symptoms like fatigue, insomnia or loss of appetite, as opposed to overt sadness.
Older adults also may have more medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer , which may cause depressive symptoms. Or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression.
The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression , which affect approximately 5% and 7% of the world’s older population, respectively.
Choice of antidepressant The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the newer antidepressants buproprion , mirtazapine, moclobemide, and venlafaxine (a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor or SNRI) are all relatively safe in the elderly.
Here are some of the most common mental health illnesses experienced by older adults: Depression . Depression is a type of mood disorder that ranks as the most pervasive mental health concern among older adults. Anxiety Disorders . Bipolar Disorders . Eating Disorders. 4 Smart Senior Technology Trends.
Depression is more than twice as prevalent in young women than men (ages 14–25 yr), but this ratio decreases with age. Indeed, starting at puberty, young women are at the greatest risk for major depression and mental disorders globally.
Age. Major depression is most likely to affect people between the ages of 45 and 65. “People in middle age are at the top of the bell curve for depression , but the people at each end of the curve, the very young and very old, may be at higher risk for severe depression ,” says Walch.
For example, studies have found that higher IQ is associated with more drug use and earlier drug use. Studies have also found that higher IQ is associated with more mental illness, including depression , anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
For most individuals in the U.S., accessing mental health care is a struggle, but older adults may have it worst of all. Due to stigma, misinformation, and false beliefs about aging , they frequently go without adequate care for depression and other psychiatric illnesses and psychological problems .
It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, including as we age. Many older adults are at risk for mental health problems.
The neurobiological changes associated with getting older, prescribed medication for other conditions and genetic susceptibility (which increases with age) are also factors. There are a number of rarer mental health problems that affect older people too, including delirium, anxiety and late-onset schizophrenia.