Senior Health: Depression can be a problem for older adults

 

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave, and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

Some signs of depression:

• Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness;

• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters;

• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports;

• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, or sleeping too much;

• Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort;

• Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain;

• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness;

• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements;

• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame;

• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things;

• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide;

• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

As we age, we suffer many losses, increases in medical problems, lack of finances to enjoy retirement, fewer outside activities, and changing relationships with our children and parents. These things affect how we view ourselves and how we relate to the world around us.