Depression in elderly difficult to treat, response to antidepressant therapy may vary considerably: Study

By: Bel Marra Health | Mental Health | Sunday, October 2, 2016 – 8:30 a.m.

Depression in elderly difficult to treat, response to antidepressant therapy may vary considerably: Study therapy with antidepressants may vary among the elderly with depression in old age, as it becomes more difficult to treat older the individual is. The study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, examined longitudinal patterns of changes in depressive symptoms in those who are prescribed antidepressant therapy.

The study’s lead author, said Stephen F. Smagula “Elderly patients with depression in the elderly should be treated, which is the main main message of this study. You should receive treatment and should stay with it. Some of these patients take 12 weeks or longer to fully respond. depression-end of life is often difficult to treat, and venlafaxine alone is not going to cut it for many patients there. But receiving treatment, stay with it, and also exploring alternative care or adjuvant, as indicated. “

The study reports that nearly 50 percent of older people with depression in old age have difficulty responding to initial therapy antidepressant.

For the research, which was conducted between August 2009 and August 2014, participants received antidepressant therapy, which rose to 300 mg / day over 12 weeks. They found that depression in life was difficult to treat, and there were different responses to therapy with antidepressants.

Almost half of the participants showed responses to treatment, but there were three subgroups that did not respond to treatment. Two subgroups had higher levels of depression baseline and the other had depression levels moderate line base. Dr. Smagula added “This finding suggests that despite the advanced age and depressive illness, conservation relative retention capacity, which is associated with hippocampal function, can facilitate a rapid response. this hypothesis is consistent with previous evidence linking the volume of hippocampus of depression treatment outcomes in old age. “

The researchers commented that depression in life is difficult to treat because of depression among the elderly has not been studied well. commentator study, Dr. Robert Roca added “It is clear that the severity of depression alone does not reliably predicts antidepressant response of older adults. There is much work to be done. It is possible that in ultimately be disappointed in our quest to discover the robust end clinical predictors of response and you may have to look for biomarkers orientation. ”

Prevalence and statistics of late-life depression in the elderly

With the increase of disease, disability, and other life changes through the process of aging, late-life depression affects many elderly people. Chronic depression in the elderly may have physical and mental consequences, which can, in turn, worsen underlying medical conditions.

It has been reported that depression in old age affects nearly six million people over 65 years of age, however, only 10 percent never receive treatment for it. The problem surrounding late-life depression in the elderly is that the symptoms are often confused with other diseases and ailments, so misdiagnosis is common.

The depression in this population differs from depression in younger adults, increasing the risk of heart failure, heart disease and death from other diseases. Suicide rates are also more common among white men with depression in old age, almost double compared to the general population.

Symptoms of depression in the elderly

For successful early diagnosis of depression in old age, it is important to recognize the symptoms in the elderly and not confuse them with other ailments. Symptoms of depression in the elderly include:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • lost interest in activities or hobbies
  • Social isolation or insulation
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping, staying asleep
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Increased use of alcohol or other substances
  • fixation on death, suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Aches and pains
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • slowed movement or speech
  • Loss of interest in socializing
  • feeling of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Neglecting personal care (hygiene, feeding oneself, forgetting drugs)

Causes and risk factors for depression in the elderly

There are many causes and risk factors that put older people at increased risk of depression in old age. With all the changes resulting from aging, causes and risk factors of depression in the elderly include:

  • Health problems such as a preexisting condition or disability
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Reduction sense of purpose – no longer work or care of relatives
  • Fear – death, financial instability, health problems
  • recent duels
  • Being single, unmarried or widowed
  • The lack of social support or social interactions
  • stressful life events
  • Medication
  • Family history of major depression
  • Chronic pain

Prevention advice and self-help for depression in the elderly

Late life depression does not have to affect you just because they are older. Preventive measures can be taken in order to avoid or reduce the risk of developing depression in a person’s life. Prevention Tips and self-help for depression in the elderly include:

Creating a social support group – volunteer in churches or community, calling their loved ones, visiting friends and relatives

  • Exercise – Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on the mood of promoting
  • Recognizing and reducing stress triggers or creating coping strategies
  • Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed, alone or helpless
  • Get enough sleep – if you have a condition that prevents or hinders sleep, talk to a doctor to combat this
  • Maintaining a healthy diet – there are many foods that have effects mood-boosting
  • getting a pet
  • Learning a new skill
  • laugh more
  • Awareness of physical limitations – Do not try to take part in activities that go beyond its limitations as it increases your risk of “failure”, which can contribute to depression
  • .

The oldest becomes the greater your risk is to develop depression in old age, but with simple preventive techniques you can still enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

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Related Reading:

Depression with mild cognitive impairment may increase the risk of dementia, accelerate brain aging in elderly: study

Increased risk of depression in patients with depressed parents or grandparents


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