Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Depression in Senior Citizens

Depression in Senior Citizens
By David Crumrine

Depression is a medical condition that is characterized by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless; low self-esteem; and loss of interest in things one used to enjoy. Senior citizens are prone to life-altering changes that can lead one to feel depressed. Dealing with the trials life throws at us such as, loss, change, loneliness, or a chronic medical condition can be quite overwhelming. Still, depression is not a "normal" part of aging. Like heart disease or diabetes, depression is a medical condition and it can be treated with medication and therapy. Treatment is effective at alleviating symptoms within a few weeks in at least 80 percent of people.

It is important that senior citizens and those providing their elder care understand the symptoms of depression. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, identify your symptoms by using the checklist provided below. Then, if necessary, seek assistance. For senior citizens, the most frequently used resource is a family doctor. Bringing a trusted friend or relative may help ease any anxiety when going to an appointment. Understand that your doctor may suggest a checkup and begin treatment or refer you to a mental health specialist.

Before you say, "I'm okay"....

Do you feel:

  • Anxious or "empty"

  • Guilty or useless

  • Agitated or irritable

  • Less interested in things you used to enjoy

  • Like no one loves you

  • Life is not worth living
Or if you are:
  • A change in sleeping habits

  • A change in eating habits

  • Persistent headaches, stomach aches, or pain
Remember that these may be real symptoms of a real medical condition that can be effectively treated. Talk to your doctor today. Though many senior citizens suffer from depression, feeling depressed is not a normal part of aging.

Health and Wellness tips

There are many measures senior citizens can take to help relieve the symptoms of depression. Those involved in the elder care of senior citizens experiencing depression should encourage the senior to follow these tips and improve their wellbeing.

Check your medications. Senior citizens often take many medications. Some medications, including those for sleep, blood pressure, and nervousness, may affect mood. Talk with your doctor about each of the medications you are taking. Be sure to include all over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements to minimize the chances of having side effects.

Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol use can bring about depression. And, when alcohol and drugs are combined, interactions that lead to depression can occur.

Stay connected. Sometimes, senior citizens find it more difficult to get out and stay connected with others. Still, talking with friends and family members, getting a pet, or even finding a new interest or hobby can help one through this tough time. Get involved in activities you take pleasure in, such as reading a good book, going to a ballgame or a taking a class in a subject that interests to you.

Be active. Physical activity can improve physical and mental wellbeing. Though some senior citizens believe they cannot exercise, there are activities like walking, gardening, or working out (even if one is in a wheelchair) that can be helpful. Make a goal of 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. If you have not taken part in physical activity in a while, be sure to check with your doctor and get his ok before you begin.

Eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids. Choose healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or nuts to increase your nutrition and energy. Also, try to eat well-balanced meals. Some senior citizens suffer from loss of appetite and weight loss; if you have experienced either of these, consult your doctor.

The Caring Space


David Crumrine at the Caring Space

We are an organization that connects caregivers and care seekers, providing an easy and affordable resource for families seeking care for friends/loved ones and caregivers seeking employment.

Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com

Monday, January 05, 2009

How Does Depression Affect Your Weight?
By Dr. Jennifer Baxt, DMFT

When people think of depression, they tend to focus more on how it affects a person mentally. It is true that depression is caused by either a chemical imbalance, a traumatic event or is a condition that is passed down through genetics; however, regardless of the reason why someone has developed depression, it can have an negative impact on a person's physical health. It could be that they have lost interest in caring for their appearance, or lost interest in an activity they would normally enjoy on a regular business. Depression can even affect a person's weight by either gaining or losing weight, depending on whether they have decided to try and self-medicate their depression with food or by ignoring food all together.

It is common for depression to affect a person's weight, more so than most realize. The change in weight has even been caused by some anti-depressants that some depressed people have been prescribed; however, the common result of serious depression appears to be the loss of weight. In this situation, the person has lost interest in food or they feel they don't deserve to eat it. It could be that they are unhappy with their appearance and they feel that they don't deserve to eat anymore because they are already too overweight. It could be that a person feels that they don't deserve the right to live, whether it is because they are being bullied unmercifully by others at school, or a past traumatic event has cost them a loved one who they feel should not have died. The list could go on for all the reasons why a person would lose their appetite. The point is that if this condition is allowed to go on without proper treatment, the individual can develop other conditions, such as anorexia or bulimia, where they will let themselves starve to death.

Weight loss, regardless of the reasons is a serious issue. A person who appears to be depressed, is losing weight and does not appear to have an interest in eating at all, especially as a result of guilt or just loss of interest, needs to consult a therapist or a counselor. An online therapist can help the individual figure out why they are depressed and they can also help the patient deal with their loss of appetite and weight. People who are this depressed often find it easier to get help from an online counselor, especially if they are a teenager who is worried about their personal image. Many people in the past have avoided getting the help they need because they were afraid that others would see them going in to see a therapist or counselor in person. Now, thanks to the internet, online therapy is available. People can contact an online therapist and get the help they need from the comfort of their home and their confidentiality is guaranteed. Online counseling is becoming more popular all the time as more people prefer to use it. Also, many people who have decided to go with online therapy have been successfully treated.

Jennifer Baxt is the owner of CompleteCounselingSolutions.com which offers a variety of online counseling services. If you would like to know more about Jennifer or any of our online therapists, visit our website.

Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com