Signs Of Depression In The Elderly
Despite depression being more prevalent than dementia among the elderly, it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Some of the signs of depression in older people may be different to those considered typical, and they may be mistaken for indications of other conditions, like Alzheimerâs disease. Depression in older adults is sometimes called geriatric depression.
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Behaving uncharacteristically
- Alluding to a depressed or anxious mood with vague language
A senior citizen experiencing symptoms of depression is advised to consult a medical practitioner about treatment options, including psychotherapy and medication. If you think that you might have signs of depression, try using the Ada app to find out more about your symptoms.
What Are The Causes Of Depression
Experts say that depression is caused by an interaction of genetic factors and real life triggers. Because depression often runs in families, experts believe that genetic factors make some people more vulnerable to than others, because of their individual chemistry.
Depression triggers can include:
* Situational factors: Major problems and life crises — a romantic break-up, job loss, or the death of a loved one, for example — are often the immediate, most obvious causes of depression. But ongoing life challenges like poverty, unemployment, and social isolation, as well as childhood trauma, also put people at higher risk for depression.
* Medical factors:Chronic pain or illness can lead to depression. Certain medical conditions — including , cancer, and hepatitis — can cause depression. Nutritional deficiencies and some are culprits as well. Therefore, it’s important that treatment for depression include a medical evaluation.
* Gender: Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, a discrepancy likely due in part to the tremendous hormonal shifts that accompany menstruation, child birth, and menopause.
* Stress: A connection between chronic stress and depression has been established and could explain why stressful life situations, like poverty and unemployment, put people at far higher risk for depression.
Treatment for Depression
Signs Of Depression In Men
While men are less likely than women to experience depression, it is still a serious health problem that affects a large number of males. Men are statistically less likely to acknowledge their depression or seek help and treatment. Furthermore, men with depression are at a greater risk of suicide than women, which may be related to problematic societal norms and pressures.
- Irritability or anger
- Behavioral changes, e.g. becoming controlling or violent
- Loss of interest in work, family or hobbies
- Difficulty sleeping
- Physical symptoms, such as , chronic pain and digestive problems
- Substance abuse; including alcohol
- Risk-taking, e.g. unsafe driving or unsafe sex
Despite a loss of interest in work or loss of concentration and attention, some men with depression may work longer hours than usual, possibly to avoid showing signs of the condition.
While the signs of depression may differ slightly between men and women, treatment is generally the same and typically includes talking to a mental health professional and taking antidepressant medication where recommended. Men experiencing symptoms of depression are advised to consult a medical practitioner. If you think that you might have signs of depression, try using the Ada app to find out more about your symptoms.
Do You Have A Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Oversleeping is not only an issue among young people with depression. Among older adults, symptoms of insomnia may be more common. But many older adults also experience hypersomnia in connection with depression. Women, in particular, may be more likely to oversleep and feel excessively tired during the day if they are depressed.
Its also important to remember that among people with depression, sleep difficulties often take shifting, variable forms. People with depression may experience symptoms of both insomnia and hypersomnia. A 2014 study investigated how often insomnia and hypersomnia occur together in adults with depression in the U.S. Scientists found that more than 27 percent have whats known as co-occurring insomnia and hypersomnia. They also found some other striking, shared characteristics. People with depression who demonstrated both insomnia and hypersomnia had:
- More severe depression.
- Higher rates of impulse control disorder.
- Greater likelihood of drug use disorder.
These people were also more likely to be receiving mental health treatment and more likely to be taking .
Another study released just this year found that among people whod received a diagnosis of major depression, slightly less than one-third had both insomnia and hypersomnia. These people were at two to three times greater risk for bipolar disorder, according to the study.
When oversleeping is a symptom of a sleep disorder
Other causes of oversleeping:
Being overweight or obese.
How I Quit Sleeping Through Depression
My depression was treated with both medication and CBT . Medication can be put within arms reach; on a bedside table, under the pillow. And, some therapists offer CBT over the phone. No need to get out of bed at all. But for me, given my penchant for sleeping, getting out of bed was as essential first step along the road to recovery.
At the beginning, it was absolutely the hardest thing I had to do. I would wake up, dress, drive to the therapist, sob through therapy, drive home, undress, go to bed and fall back asleep. My therapist suggested that I should try to extend the amount of time between when I got home from an appointment and when I went back to bed. Five minutes the first day, ten minutes the next, and so on. Slower if need be. While longer awake times meant longer bouts of pain, it also forced me to deal with that pain using other CBT techniques.
I love sleeping. It is my single most favorite thing. Which is why it is also the most dangerous symptom of my depression. Too much sleep, repeated oversleeping, also has the potential to bring me down . . . way down. I must be very, very diligent, aware of my symptoms and committed to my recovery.
The Importance Of Self
Depression may make you want to be alone and not do that much. But it is important to push yourself and be proactive to help yourself feel better:
- Go outside, get some fresh air and do some exercise this can help boost your endorphins, your happy brain chemicals
- Maintain structure set yourself a positive daily schedule, which may include time for exercise, cooking and activities you usually enjoy dont stay in bed all day
- Try to eat healthily throughout the day evidence suggests that eating foods rich in folic acid such as avocado and spinach, as well as foods rich in omega-3 like salmon and tuna can help ease symptoms
- Dont use alcohol excessively or drugs people try to mask or manage negative feelings with alcohol and drugs, but this is counterproductive and should be avoided
- Establish a good bedtime routine try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Also avoid napping and make your bedroom a tech-free space, so you are away from screens before you sleep
- Document your thoughts and feelings before you go to sleep at night, write down three positive things about yourself and reflect on them when you wake up the next day. Also, jot down where you want to be emotionally, mentally and physically, and note the small steps you can take to get there
When To Get Help
It is important not to ignore signs of depression, particularly if they seem to be getting worse. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible is recommended.
Depression is considered a treatable condition. For information on depression tests, diagnosis and treatment, including psychotherapy and antidepressant medication, see the resource on depressive episodes.
If a person shows signs of crisis â obvious indicators that they are strongly affected by depression or at risk of suicide â it is important to
Mild And Moderate Depression
These are the most common types. More than simply feeling blue, the symptoms of mild depression can interfere with your daily life, robbing you of joy and motivation. Those symptoms become amplified in moderate depression and can lead to a decline in confidence and self-esteem.
Recurrent, mild depression
Dysthymia is a type of chronic low-grade depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood.
- The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time .
- Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as double depression.
- If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like youve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is just the way you are.
How To Feel Better After Oversleeping
You wake up much later than planned, completely out of sorts. You stare at the clock in disbelief and dismay. What next?
If you already feel miserable, it might seem tempting to write the day off and stay in bed.
Yet, even though getting up might feel like an impossible feat, these strategies can help ease that groggy, late-morning funk.
Signs Of Depression In Children
Younger children can also experience depression. However, because their behavior may change as they go through different childhood stages, and because they may exhibit different signs of depression compared to adults, it can be difficult for caregivers to recognize that a child is depressed.
- Clinging to caregivers
- Experimenting with alcohol or drugs
- Displaying a lack of care for things they used to value highly
Other more typical signs of depression in adults, such as sleep disturbances, tiredness, changes in appetite and loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, may be less commonly present in children with depression.
The symptoms of depression may interfere with the childâs ability to partake in social activities, complete schoolwork and enjoy family life.If a caregiver notices that their childâs behavior and day-to-day functioning has changed significantly, it is recommended that they speak to a healthcare professional.
Like people of other age groups, children can show signs of suicidal thoughts or actions. If a caregiver suspects that a child is at risk of harm, they should contact a healthcare professional or suicide prevention helpline immediately.
Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed.
This can be a serious problem as taking for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse. If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
Incidence Of Sleep Symptoms In Depression
Symptoms of disturbed night-time sleep in people with depression have been described extensively in both clinical and epidemiological studies. In clinical samples, difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep or both have been reported in about three quarters of all depressed patients., In epidemiological samples examining insomnia symptoms and depression, sleep symptoms occurred in 50% to 60% in a sample of young adults aged 21 to 30. In a UK population sample , the incidence of insomnia symptoms in a wide age range of patients with depression increased with age. Overall, 83% of depressed patients had at least one insomnia symptom, compared with 36% who did not have depression. This varied from 77% in the 16-to-24-year age group to 90% in the 55-to-64-year age group. When the authors looked at the value of sleep symptoms as a screening aid for depression, the proportion of participants with depression who reported symptoms of insomnia sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of insomnia was 41%, and the proportion without depression and without a diagnosis was 96%. This supports the statement mentioned above that diagnosing depression without sleep complaints needs care.
General Signs Of Depression
- Persistent low mood; feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness or even irritability, frustration and anger
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable; this can include sex
- Excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Memory problems
- Talking or moving more slowly than usual
- Restlessness or trouble sitting still
- Disrupted sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep, not being able to sleep through the night, waking up early or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite and/or weight, there may be an increase or loss of appetite and weight
- Persistent , other body pains, or digestive trouble without a clear physical trigger
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Ruminative thinking: this refers to repetitive negative thoughts or brooding about distressing experiences or thoughts
- Self-harming, e.g. cutting oneself
- Substance abuse and addiction, including heavy drinking and smoking
Signs of depression are typically present for more than two weeks. If you think that you might have signs of depression, you can try using the Ada app to find out more about your symptoms.
Lifes Not Less Than A Nightmare
When lifes a nightmare, trust me dreams are just entertainment. Your life is tangled up in so many emotions and feelings. Waking up in the morning feels like a task.
Your bed becomes your comfort zone and the thought of leaving it is terrifying. When you begin to dread your life, sleep is one thing you may try to hold on to.
What Are Depression Naps
To many people, it wont come as a surprise that sleep and mental health are closely intertwined. Sleeping for extensive amounts of time is commonly associated with diagnoses of depression, which is usually accompanied by several other symptoms and identifying factors.
In fact, several studies have shown that between 65% to 90% of adult patients with major depression have experienced sleep dysfunction in some form. One example is by napping for long periods on a daily basis, a practice also referred to as a depression nap.
According to Alex Dimitriu, MD, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California, depression naps refer to taking a nap when youre feeling low, in an effort to boost your mood. But it might not necessarily indicate a serious problem.
It is important to realize there is a very big difference between feeling tired, sleepy, sad, and depressed, Dr. Dimitriu says. A lot of times it can be hard to know your own feelings, and too often in my work, people with fatigue end up thinking they are depressed.
Common Causes Of Depression
Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a persons risk for developing it themselves.
- Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
- Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
- Trauma or stress: Periods of high , traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
- Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
- Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.
People who believe that they may have hidden depression should speak to their doctor or a mental health professional. These professionals can help make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.
Other steps to treat depression might include:
Not everyone with depression will display the typical symptoms of sadness and despair.
Sometimes, the only signs a person may show are physical, such as fatigue, insomnia, or weight changes.
You Stop Brushing Your Hair
If you’re stuck at home because of COVID-19, the days may run together, and it’s easy to stay in pajamas for hours or maybe forget to brush your teeth. But if you’ve stopped caring about your appearance because you’re feeling listless or lack energy, it may be connected to depression.
According to Deborah Serani, Psy.D, your care for your appearance and grooming is connected to your brain’s frontal lobes: “Depression has long been associated with dysfunction of the frontal lobes, so it’s not a surprise that people with depression find it hard to self-care.” You may not feel like washing your hair because you just started the last episode of Ozark, or you may have lost motivation due to the onset of depression.
How Does Depression Affect Your Sleep
Theres been an increasing focus on mental health during the past few years and not without good reason:
- In the UK, one in four people is likely to experience a mental health problem each year in England alone
- One in six people will be unfortunate enough for that problem to be depression, anxiety or a combination of the two.
The impact of these disorders can be crippling, with the adverse effects impacting upon every aspect of daily life.
Therefore, if youre reading this and think you may be suffering from depression or anxiety, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible
Sleep is just one of the aspects of your life affected by depression.
As we know from the literature, the extensive number of articles on the subject and relevant websites, a good nights sleep benefits health, mental ability and mood. This means that:
Antidepressant Drug Addiction Dependence And Withdrawal
If someone becomes dependent on antidepressants, addiction is a possibility. Abuse of antidepressants may not lead directly to death, but it can and will have adverse effects on the brains chemical balance, as well as the heart and respiratory system. Withdrawal, when weaning off the antidepressants, can send someone spiraling back into depression.
The Risk Of Isolation
It can sometimes be hard to explain your thoughts and feelings to others. You might find it difficult to talk about your depression and instead you might cut yourself off from other people. The more overwhelming your symptoms, the more isolated and lonely you might become.
Without treatment and support, depression can have an impact on your relationships, work, finances and overall health, so it’s important to get help as early as possible. See our pages on treatment and support for more information.
“It feels like I’m stuck under a huge grey-black cloud. It’s dark and isolating, smothering me at every opportunity.”
You’re Obsessed With Perfection
If the threat of coronavirus has you scrubbing your kitchen counter until it shines every day, it’s understandable. But if you’ve suddenly developed an obsession with perfection that’s affecting your moods, there may be a deeper issue, and it could be a sign of depression.
According to Neurocore Brain Performance Centers, “For those with depression, perfectionism can stem from a cognitive distortion believing that making mistakes will cause others to stop loving or accepting them. This can lead these individuals to set exceptionally high standards, and if those standards aren’t met, they can end up feeling like a failure.” Your perfectionism and disappointment can make you spiral into a cycle of depression. If you’ve noticed this obsession with perfection, you may need to seek help from a counselor.
You Don’t Find Joy In Your Hobbies
Many are using this time of social distancing to engage in hobbies they love, such as reading, knitting, playing an instrument or exercising. If you’ve given up on the activities you used to find enjoyable because they don’t seem fun anymore, you may need to analyze your mental health status.
According to Psychology Today, the loss of interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy is referred to as anhedonia, and it’s directly linked to depression and other mood disorders: “People suffering from clinical depression lose interest in hobbies, friends, work, and even food and sex.” If you can’t seem to squeeze an ounce of joy out of finishing a crossword puzzle or eating the perfect chocolate chip cookie, you may be suffering from depression.
Support Is Available To You
If you think you are depressed, the most important thing you can do is seek support. This can prevent symptoms from worsening and gives you the opportunity to get your life back on track.
Firstly, talk to a trusted friend or relative to try to understand why you feel this way. Have you gone through any big life changes? Are you feeling lonely? Or do you suffer from a chronic illness or have chronic pain? Thinking about the possible causes can to set you up on your journey to recovery.
Also, visit your GP. They will be able to offer counselling or refer you to an NHS or private specialist such as Priory. You can also contact Priory directly and our team will be able to talk you through the steps you should take.
At Priory Hospitals and Wellbeing Centres, the treatments that we currently use to help people with depression include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy – this allows you to tackle your negative thoughts so you can challenge your negative assumptions and think in a more balanced way
- Antidepressant medication these are typically used alongside CBT, but can also be the first line of treatment in particular circumstances
Our depression treatment can be given on both residential and outpatient basis. Your symptoms, needs and circumstances will be taken into consideration to determine the right course of action for you.
Depression Medication: Antidepressant Drug Options
You have a variety of choices for antidepressants. Some of the most common are SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These help the brain to regulate the release of serotonin and dopamine; these are brain chemicals thought to be responsible for creating feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Common brand names are Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.
Take Sleep Problems Seriously
You should tell your doctor if you:
- have trouble falling or staying asleep
- feel tired during the day
- have physical pain, discomfort or other complaints that prevent you from getting a good nights sleep
Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and continuous positive airway pressure devices for apnea can restore good sleep, helping you sidestep related conditions like depression.
Getting Back On Track
If oversleeping is a symptom of depression, its most important to see a healthcare provider for treatment of that depression. And even if someone is being treated for depression, the sleep difficulties can be residual. Sleep can remain a struggle because its developed a life of its own and become very habitual, she says.
Dr. Drerup does have a few suggestions on how you can avoid falling into bad sleep habits that could exacerbate the sleep situation. These techniques can make a huge difference for people when they implement behavioral changes like this because the mood symptoms arent impairing them.
If people can get out of bed and get a more consistent start to their day, it can make their day better, Dr. Drerup says. They feel like they can be more productive and get more accomplished. And it can help improve their mood and allow them to make other changes over time that helps increase more pleasurable activities and engaging with people instead of the oversleeping and avoidance of interactions.
Hands off the snooze button
This may not be a popular idea given how much its a ritual for so many of us. But Dr. Drerup points out that repeatedly hitting the snooze button doesnt really help you. When you hit the snooze button and you doze for those short seven or eight minute increments, youre getting brief, fragmented sleep periods. You may think youre gradually becoming more alert but really youre developing sleep inertia and your body wants to stay asleep.