font size

Depression in the Elderly (cont.)

How is insomnia related to depression in the elderly?

Insomnia is usually a symptom of depression. New studies reveal that insomnia is also a risk factor for depression onset and recurrence -- particularly in the elderly.

To treat insomnia, experts recommend the newer "hypnotic" drugs that are safe and effective in elderly people. If there's no improvement in the sleep disorder and/or depression, a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist may prescribe medications and/or psychotherapy.

What are risk factors for depression in the elderly?

Factors that increase the risk of depression in the elderly include:

  • Being female
  • Being single, unmarried, divorced, or widowed
  • Lack of a supportive social network
  • Stressful life events

Physical conditions like stroke, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and chronic pain further increase the risk of depression. Additionally, the following risk factors for depression are often seen in the elderly:

  • Certain medicines or combination of medicines
  • Damage to body image (from amputation, cancer surgery, or heart attack)
  • Family history of major depressive disorder
  • Fear of death
  • Living alone, social isolation
  • Other illnesses
  • Past suicide attempt(s)
  • Presence of chronic or severe pain
  • Previous history of depression
  • Recent loss of a loved one
  • Substance abuse

Brain scans of people who develop their first depression in old age often reveal spots in the brain that may not be receiving adequate blood flow. Chemical changes in these cells may enhance the likelihood of depression separate from any life stress.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2012

© 2005-2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Source article on WebMD


Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_the_elderly/article.htm

Emotional Wellness

Get tips on therapy and treatment.

Depression in the Elderly Related Articles
advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations