Who gets Depressed

Losing direction in life during your 50s

by The Anti Depression Team on

Experiencing some changes in life that makes you feel less wonderful as you grow old? You might be at risk of depression then!

Depressed at mid-life

Midlife is usually defined as the ages between forty and sixty. This is usually marked by many changes, including physical changes and changes in lifestyle and career. This would include deaths, ending of jobs, boredom with current lifestyles and so-on. Although this is a natural maturation process, people have varying reactions towards this. Though some may feel that midlife is truly the best time of their lives, some may get depressed, viewing it as a decline in their life.

Midlife for women is marked clearly by physical changes such as menopause, and usually starts earlier as compared to men. Majority of women go through menopause between forty-five and fifty-four, marking the end of their fertility.

This would then prompt some women to genuinely feel depressed due to the decline in fertility and thus, by extension, the peaking of their lives. Recent studies have also shown that menopausal women have a greater tendency to be depressed due to great hormonal change sparked by menopause.

Men do not have any great indicator to mark their transition into midlife like women. However, they still get depressed and experience what is popularly known as ‘midlife crisis’. This is due to ageing and the fear of losing youth. This is backed up by the physical changes that are present, such as the loss of strength and sexual prowess in their late 40s and 50s. Men can also get depressed when they realize that their hopes and dreams were unable to be achieved and they were instead relegated to a lifestyle that is not ideal to them.

Although midlife is a time where many are at a higher risk of being depressed, there is no form of depression that is specifically present at this stage of life. Some changes in midlife may have a greater impact on one’s psyche and thus cause them to be depressed much more easily.

Other studies suggest that midlife depression originates due to circulatory problems found within the brain or a genetic inclination towards mood changes and disorders which is also common in depressed individuals who are younger.

Growing depressed as you aged

by The Anti Depression Team on

Depressed late in life

Depression in the later stage of life should never be regarded as normal and a part of the ageing process. Older people who feel depressed should still seek help before it gets worse.

Why does this happen?

Late in life, people usually experience major losses, be it the loss of their spouses, friends or even children. Furthermore, the loss the physical vigour that they have experienced during their youth, and in some cases, they even lose financial independence as they become more dependent on their children for expenses also causes them to be depressed.

There are two types of depression that can be faced by older people. Depression that started earlier in a person’s life can occur again when they are older due to genetics.

The elderly who are depressed for the first time late in their life could be depressed due to multiple and chronic diseases, including neurological disease. It is due to this link that many consider the symptoms of depression as a normal response to illness. This decision could prove damaging to the depressed person.

This late-onset depression puts the depressed elderly at a higher risk of neurological side-effects from the medications and abnormalities that are associated with the diseases that they are already suffering from.

In addition, elder people could feel depressed due to illnesses because they are part of life stresses that are faced by these older people. Another stressor that may cause the elderly to feel depressed is the feeling that they are no longer of use and are unable to have control over their own lives. The lack of care that is given to the depressed state of the elderly may worsen their condition, which may, in turn, cause this predicament to become much more deadly.

Suicide amongst the elderly is more common as compared to other age groups. This may be attributed to the perception that depressed individuals, or any individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric issue are weak and feeble and belonged in a mental institution. It is due to this that the depressed elderly are unable to seek proper care and turn to extreme measures.

 

What to look out for

The most common symptoms of being depressed include persistent sadness for over two weeks, excessive worrying, complaints, sleep problems, feelings of worthlessness and helplessness, pacing, difficulty in concentrating and memory loss. Late-life depression may also involve withdrawal from activities due to the loss of interest or energy and self-neglect that may lead to neglect of hygiene and weight loss.

Sadly, these symptoms may overlap with certain existing illnesses or temperaments that are related to the elderly, leaving the depressed individuals to be undetected. For instance, complaining may easily be put down to the depressed elderly as being a complainer, and the loss of memory may just be dismissed as dementia.

Early diagnosis of late-life depression could save many lives, as suicide rates amongst the depressed elderly are high. Nine out of ten older depressed people do not get treatment for their disorder.

With the proper diagnosis, you may be surprised by the changes that will be seen. Elderly patients usually recover from the symptoms of pseudodementia and experience an improvement in brain function as well as quality of life.

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