Depression in the Elderly

1253 words 6 pages
Depression in the Elderly

Depression later in life frequently coexists with other medical illnesses and disabilities. In addition, advancing age is often accompanied by loss of key social support systems due to the death of a spouse or siblings, retirement, and/or relocation of residence. Because of their change in circumstances and the fact that they're expected to slow down, doctors and family may miss the diagnosis of depression in elderly people, delaying effective treatment. As a result, many seniors find themselves having to cope with symptoms that could otherwise be easily treated.
Depression tends to last longer in elderly adults. It also increases their risk of death. Studies of nursing home patients with physical illnesses
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Psychotherapy is a method of treatment that relies on a unique relationship between a therapist and his or her patient. The goal of psychotherapy is to discuss issues and problems in order to eliminate or control troubling and painful symptoms, helping the patient return to normal functioning. It also can be used to help a person overcome a specific problem or to stimulate overall emotional growth and healing. In regularly scheduled sessions, usually 45 to 50 minutes in length, a patient works with a psychiatrist or other therapist to identify, learn to manage, and ultimately overcome, emotional and behavioral problems.
Psychotherapy is especially beneficial for those patients who prefer not to take medicine, as well as for those not suitable for treatment with drugs because of side effects, interactions with other medicines, or other medical illnesses. The use of psychotherapy in older adults is especially beneficial because of the broad range of functional and social consequences of depression in this age group. Many doctors recommend the use of psychotherapy in combination with antidepressant medicines.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) plays an important role in the treatment of depression in older adults. ECT is a medical treatment performed only by highly skilled health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, under the direct supervision of a psychiatrist (a medical doctor trained in the diagnosis and treatment of


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