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Causes of Depression Among the Elderly

by mrzee
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Introduction

Depression in general is characterised as a psychiatric disorder in which a person has a constant feeling of discouragement, sorrow and self-worth. There has been a widespread distress in elderly people in recent years. An approximate 6 million Americans aged 65 years and older are impacted by an elderly depression (Duckworth, 2009). Available evidence shows that older adults are at risk for depression and have the greatest incidence of depression-related symptoms and depression suicide. The problem is intensified by the reality that the health sector and its clinical aversion neglect the elderly. It is known that just 10 percent of the elderly are screened for the disease (Lovestone and Howard, 2006). This can largely be attributed to different display of depression symptoms among the elderly and therefore delay in treatment. Among many old people, depression is often confused with the effects of other illnesses and the medicines and therapies used in treating them (Blazer, 2002). This choice of elderly depression for this paper was informed by the need to understand the condition since my father has suffered elderly depression severally. This paper will focus on the various dimensions of elderly depression including causes, risk factors, and treatment among others.

When individuals get older, life transitions are major which may place them at risk of depression. Health, psychological, and social research have established many contributing factors that lead to elderly depression. Health issues are the first significant source of elderly depression (Williamson, Shaffer and Parmelee, 2000). Disability and sickness, cognitive impairment, acute or persistent discomfort and body injury induced by cancer or procedure may be a significant source for elderly distress. Many medical problems may trigger distress in the elderly. The medical conditions that may trigger elderly distress, either directly or by psychological reactions to a disease or condition, are essential to recognise (Chew-Graham, Baldwin and Burns, 2008). Both chronic problems, particularly if they are life-threatening, impaired or painful, may contribute to depression or to worse symptoms of depression. The medical conditions that have been identified to cause elderly depression are: stroke, diabetes, lupus, thyroid disorders, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, multiple sclerosis, Vitamin B12 deficiency, and heart disease (Duckworth, 2009).

Causes of Depression Among the Elderly

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