September 27, 2021
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems people face ranging from mild to severe. According to the National Institute of mental health (NIH), depression is a major public health problem affecting around 17.3 million adults in the United States. This number represents nearly 7.1 % of the population in the US.
As people age, depression may set in due to various factors making them even more vulnerable. Statistics say that clinical depression affects approximately six million elderly population in the United States. Being the most common mental health disorder, it has the ability to impair one’s ability to think, focus and compound struggle to carry out daily responsibilities. One of the most devastating impacts of depression is suicidal thoughts. According to a study published by NCBI, suicidal deaths contribute to around 1.4% deaths worldwide and majority of the suicidal deaths are linked to psychiatric disorder and depression.
State of mental health disorders has exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics reveal that senior citizens in the United States are exposed to risk factors like financial challenges, social isolation and prolonged illness- precursors to the onset of major depression in them. The COVID-19 has added to all these factors.
However, this is a highly treatable condition with a little effort. Recognizing early signs of depression in the elderly or your loved ones will give you an opportunity to help them by intervening in the initial stages of the disorder, and save lives.
Identifying the signs of depression is important
Elderly people may experience depression for multiple reasons such as physical ailments, the loss of spouse, retirement from work, feelings that life lacks purpose, or facing neglect from the family. All these experiences can be overwhelming for them. The problems complicate when the signs of depression are often confused with other mental health condition or side effects of any medication. Hence, it is paramount to recognize the symptoms of depression in the elderly.
The most prominent signs of depression include:
Is it grief, clinical depression or dementia?
Depression and grief have similar symptoms. Therefore, it is quite difficult to differentiate between them by looking at the signs. Grief is associated with mixed emotions. A person might feel happy at one moment and might get engrossed with a feeling of sadness the next. On the other hand, in depression, a person perpetually experiences the feeling of sadness, despair and emptiness from within.
A person grappling with dementia experiences short term memory loss and rapid decline in medical condition. They tend to remain confused on activities they have performed. They tend to forget date, time and place. In depression, a person’s memory remains intact. However they find it difficult to concentrate as their overwhelming emotions make it painful for them.
How to cope with depression?
Depression is all pervasive and doesn’t differentiate— be it age, race, gender or religion. It can affect anyone at any point of time. But when elderly people have to endure it, the pain becomes manifold. By making senior citizens aware of the coping skills, they are empowered to lead a much better life.
The coping skills can include:
Get professional help
Depression is a treatable mental health condition. However, you should get professional help even when the symptoms are mild.
If you or a loved one is grappling with any mental health condition, seek immediate help from experts. Mental health counseling ensures recovery that is lasting and permanent.
Invictus health group collaborates with the best mental health treatment centers across California to treat mental health conditions and co-occurring disorders. You can avail customized treatment programs, based on individual medical assessment by contacting us.
To know more about inpatient mental health treatment with residential facilities and partial hospitalization facilities call us today at our toll free number 866-548-0190.