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Depression in Seniors: Symptoms and Treatment

According to the Geriatric Mental health Foundation serious depression affects 15 out of 100 adults over the age of 65. There are many challenges facing seniors today. Sometimes depression may be a side effect of medications or chronic illness. Depression can result from social isolation unresolved grief issues related to the loss of a spouse or loved ones, worries about medical conditions, changes in ability to stay active, decrease in independence and feelings of being a burden to love ones or caring for a child or grandchild.

Seniors are benefiting from modem medicine and living longer. However their emotional well being is often overlooked by family, friends and physicians.

Seniors are more hesitant to seek treatment for fear of being labeled as crazy or they may see depression as weakness or a character flaw. We know that depression is a medical condition and it is not a natural part of the aging process. It is not a character flaw and can happen to anyone at any age. Feelings of sadness or grief are a normal part of life. Depression is a medical condition that impacts a person's daily functioning, social relationships and quality of life.

Symptoms of depression are Varied but may include social isolation, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, irritability, vague complaints of pain, confusion persistent feelings of sadness, excessive worry and weight changes.

Depression can prevent you from enjoying life and can isolate you from family and friends.

The good news is that depression in seniors is treatable.

We know that therapy is a major tool in the treatment of depression no matter your age.

Therapy can be a helpful adjunct to informal supports from family and friends. Therapists provide a warm, caring, nonjudgmental atmosphere Where you can work through life changes and talk about difficult emotions.

If you or a loved one is experiencing depression seek professional help. Your primary care physician is a good place to start. He or she can help you develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for you. Often physicians will encourage seniors to seek therapy from a licensed therapist. Therapy is covered by Medicare and most Insurance providers.

At Family Guidance Centers we offer therapy in a confidential, compassionate environment. We have experienced clinicians who can assist you with dealing with the underlying causes of your depression.

Remember you don't have to suffer. Mild to moderate Depression in seniors is treatable. You don't have to suffer.

This is good news!

Patricia Aspinwall is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. You can Contact her at 804-743-0960 or

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