If you have ever talked with a caregiver who takes care of a patient that lives with Alzheimer’s disease, you have probably heard that people who have this terrible disease often succumb to depression. What’s even worse, depression is quite common among people with any type of dementia. According to the latest research, the connection between dementia and depression is actually profound.
At the moment, researchers are working on an idea which is based on the connection between depression and dementia. People who start suffering from dementia are at a higher risk of developing depression later in life. Their study confirmed that people who had depression for extended periods of time were at a 22% increased risk of developing dementia. The first three years of experiencing symptoms of dementia are more likely to show symptoms of depression, too.
Unfortunately, at the moment scientists aren’t sure if depression is one of the causes of dementia or if it is a side effect. Because of this, it is more important than ever to think about dementia in the elderly as the most dangerous of states. Both family and professional caregivers need to be aware of the symptoms that follow the appearance of depression so that they can find the right treatment for their loved ones or patients.
What Is Senior Depression Really All About?
First thing first. We need to understand depression in older adults better. Many people think that depression is some mild mood swing which can quickly go away. They couldn’t be more wrong. Others believe that people who are depressed can overcome their state with ease. None of that is true. Depression is a severe mental condition which needs to be approached carefully and addressed appropriately.
Yes, depression is a mood disorder, but a serious one. It affects various aspects of human life. It can deprive us of sleep or make us ineffective at our jobs. In order for a doctor to detect depression, symptoms must be noticeable for a period longer than two weeks.
The most recognizable symptoms of depression are:
- Lack of interest in hobbies and pastimes earlier enjoyed
- Quick to anger and easily irritated
- Lack of energy followed by fatigue
- Issues with sleep and lack of it
- Appetite problems: overeating or not eating at all
- Stomach issues
- Constant feelings of worthlessness and sadness
- Loss of focus
In more severe cases of depression, patients have suicidal thoughts and even suicidal attempts.
Treating Depression in the Elderly
There isn’t one ideal treatment that suits all patients. When a person that has depression reports to a doctor, a physician needs to try out a couple of treatments before he finds the right one. But luckily there are methods that are common in treating depression, and these are some of them:
- Activity and exercising – Even the smallest walk around the neighborhood can lift your spirits, but in order to deal with depression, you will need a workout regimen. What you need is a five-day-a-week program with 35 to 60 minutes of exercising each of those days.
- Medications – Treating depression with antidepressants is a conventional method. The good news is that they are not expensive, but unfortunately they don’t have an immediate effect in most cases. For many patients, it will take one month of consumption for results to be seen. Of course, antidepressants need to be taken under a doctors surveillance because the dosage needs to be carefully determined.
- Talk therapy – Also known as psychotherapy, it is also one of the methods of dealing with depression. Talking to a professional can lead to discovering the roots and causes of depression. By doing this, you will also be on a path of overcoming this condition.
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