Old age and depression

Depression in old age is extremely common. It has been established that 15-20% of people over 60 suffer from depression, and in patients with serious therapeutic diseases this figure reaches 40-60%. Not all elderly depressive patients receive adequate therapy. Depression in old age is not always easy to recognize. Low mood background, pessimism, disbelief in the future, fear of imminent death, anxiety, decreased activity and loss of previous interests, complaints of powerlessness, various pains, poor appetite, disturbed sleep, patients themselves, their relatives, and sometimes doctors consider as natural manifestations of old age with its inherent limitation of physical and social capabilities. A frequent manifestation of depression in old age is a change in the nature and behavior of patients. They become irritable, picky, selfish, focused on their ailments. These changes in mood, well-being and behavior of older people indicate the presence of a serious medical condition – depression. 

The causes of depression in old age are varied. Depression in old age can develop as a reaction to difficult life events – the loss of loved ones, loneliness, lifestyle changes due to retirement, the occurrence of therapeutic diseases. Depression in old age can also be a consequence of a hereditary predisposition to their occurrence. Age-related changes in the body and external traumatic circumstances contribute to the identification of this hereditary predisposition, even if during life no manifestations of depression were observed. Finally, depression in old age can be one of the first manifestations of organic brain disease associated with damage to the cerebral vessels or the development of senile dementia. Less commonly, the development of depression in old age is associated with certain diseases, such as endocrine, or the use of certain medications.   

The manifestations of depression in old age have their own characteristics in each case, and only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. Currently, there are a large number of effective drugs, as well as non-drug methods for the treatment of depression in old age.   

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