Depression in the Elderly

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Depression is common in elderly adults. As people age, they may experience debilitating or chronic illnesses along with the deaths of family members and friends. Dr. Edward Hill discusses depression in the elderly in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Anyone can have depression. It is as common in older people as in younger people. People who need to be in a hospital or nursing home for care may be more likely to be depressed. It is also more common in people who have brain conditions, like Alzheimers disease or a stroke.

Conditions such as an underactive thyroid or anemia can have similar symptoms to depression. Medicines taken for other illnesses may cause side effects, such as sad feelings. The death of a loved one normally causes feelings of depression, but these should be temporary.

If you have an older family member who may have depression, it is important for him or her to see a doctor. Depression can be treated with medicine or behavior therapy, but there is not one treatment that works for everyone. Sometimes, it takes time to find the right medicine or for behavior therapy to begin working.

The support of family and friends makes a big difference in how a person with depression gets better.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.