Depression is a disease that can affect anyone – regardless of gender or age. It is estimated that about 10% of Poles struggle with depression, and most of them remain undiagnosed. The sick suffer in silence, loneliness and without the support of their relatives.

From the text you will learn:

  • what types of depression are there,
  • what are the causes of depression,
  • what are the common symptoms of depression
  • how to help a person with depression.

Depression is a mental disorder in which the patient develops a chronic, long-term depressed mood, decreased energy and willingness to live, and reduced willingness to act. Depression is diagnosed in people of all ages, but it is one of the most common senile diseases . According to data from the World Health Organization, depression is the second most common mental disorder (after dementia) in seniors.

Types of depression

Depression is a disease with a very complex etiology – it is impossible to define one specific cause of its occurrence. Due to the factors that can be a kind of inflammatory point causing depression , the disease is divided into:

  • somatic depression – coexisting with serious systemic diseases (e.g. cancer), brain diseases and addiction to drugs, drugs or alcohol,
  • endogenous depression – i.e. primary, which is the result of abnormalities in the functioning of the body, e.g. too few neurotransmitters within the nervous system,
  • psychological depression – caused by traumatic mental and emotional transitions, such as death of a loved one, divorce, professional failure, financial problems, etc.

Depression – causes

Depression in the elderly can be psychological, endogenous or somatic. Sometimes different factors get mixed up with each other so it is difficult to judge which one plays a decisive role. The causes of depression in seniors may include the natural aging of the brain, a specific social and economic situation (loneliness, a feeling of being unnecessary, lack of a specific job in retirement, financial problems), but also other diseases typical of old age: hypertension, diabetes, various types of pain syndromes. The risk of depression in seniors is also increased by taking certain medications, e.g. for hypertension or steroids.

Depression – symptoms

As for the symptoms of depression , they can be very non-specific and difficult to recognize. The following are observed in patients:

  • low mood
  • energy drop,
  • feeling of constant fatigue,
  • reduced appetite,
  • sleep disturbance,
  • pessimistic attitude,
  • low self-esteem and guilt,
  • cognitive decline,
  • reducing interests,
  • thoughts of suicide.

Depression – treatment

Treatment of depression is a multi-directional activity that usually involves both the use of appropriate pharmacological agents and psychological therapy. Various studies show that drugs for depression improve in 50-75% of patients. Each patient reacts to them differently, and their use is associated with the risk of side effects. Sometimes they cannot be taken alongside other medications, e.g. for diabetes or heart disease.

How to get out of depression without taking pharmacological drugs? Psychological therapy, including regular individual or group meetings with a psychologist, as well as various biological methods such as sleep deprivation, deep brain stimulation and vagal nerve stimulation, can be very helpful. Of course, close people, family and friends who know how to deal with depression in a senior also play a huge role . They should support the patient in everyday life, control his medication intake, and sometimes it is also advisable to participate in psychotherapy. Depression, although dangerous and insidious, is nonetheless fully treatable!