What Causes Depression In Seniors

What Causes Depression In SeniorsSeniors can’t help their age, but they can help how their mind feels. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization says this is something many don’t understand. In fact, about 300 million people (more women than men) are affected by depression. What makes this even worse is that under 10% of these people receive a diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding the Root of Depression

Nobody really understands what causes depression. However, there are a few things that studies suggest will place a person at a higher risk for developing it. These things include:

  • Genetic factors
  • Brain network activity
  • Differences in how your brain processes signals
  • Psychological factors
  • Sociological factors
  • Developmental influences (e.g. childhood adversity and resilience)
  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Your gut (e.g. microbiome, inflammation)

Some of these things have been researched while others need to be more thoroughly investigated. This is important because then more effective treatment modalities can be considered. Recently, inflammation is one of the factors that researchers have spent more time focusing their studies on. In doing so, researchers have discovered that antidepressants can also help reduce inflammation throughout a person’s body. This stems from the fact that this illness really does have a lot in common with some inflammatory diseases.

Understanding how Inflammation and Metabolism Factor into Late-Life Depression

Some researchers are currently studying depression in seniors, especially the role that inflammation plays here. One such study was conducted at the Centre for Biomedical Research in Mental Health, in Madrid, Spain last year. Here researchers looked at 13,203 people ages 50 – 90, half of whom were women were interviewed every 2 years for a 10-year period. Herein researchers inquired about:

  • Marital status
  • Education
  • Income
  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • The use of antidepressants
  • Diagnosed disabilities or diseases
  • Ability to function daily
  • Dietary sugar intake

Researchers also took multiple biological measures into consideration, including:

  • BMI (body mass index)
  • Blood pressure
  • Inflammatory markers including white blood cell count, c-reactive protein, and fibrinogen (known for helping with forming blood clots)
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipids
  • Hemoglobin A1C

Statistical analyses were also included. This was useful in helping researchers understand the trends in these various measures over time. As such, they were able to notice whether inflammation really was a significant factor in causing depression in seniors. When taking all these various factors into consideration researchers discovered that about 25% of those who participated in this study were indeed suffering from clinically significant depressive symptoms. These were further broken down into the following three categories:

  • 74% had few symptoms that reached clinical significance
  • 18% had symptoms that rose far enough over time to reach diagnostic significance
  • 7.4% had clinically significant depression at the beginning of the survey that only decreased slightly over time

Understanding why More Seniors are Suffering

Seniors who are suffering will show several signs, including:

  • Reduced motivation and energy
  • Low self-esteem
  • A pessimistic view of life
  • A poor diet
  • A lack of exercise
  • No desire to socialize
  • Avoiding doctors and their recommendations for treatment modalities
  • Decreased ability to learn new things
  • An increased risk of developing diabetes
  • Weight gain

Many won’t even recognize that something is wrong with them. While self-care suffers regardless of a depressed person’s age, it’s worse for seniors. This is because they already have health and social issues caused by their age. Before allowing these things to worsen even more, make sure you reach out for help. Whether you’re the one in need of help or you’re seeking help for your loved one, you can trust The TMS Advantage to be there for you. Call and schedule an appointment to start treatment as soon as possible. Reclaiming your life is worthwhile so don’t put it off any longer.

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