Mood Disorders and Depression Needn’t Be A Part Of Aging

Jun 19 2017

Mood Disorders and Depression Needn’t Be A Part Of Aging

Have you lost interest in the activities you used to enjoy? Do you struggle with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness? Are you finding it harder and harder to get through the day? If so, you’re not alone. The good news: depression and extreme anxiety is not a normal or necessary part of aging. Senior depression can be treated, and with the right support, treatment, and self-help strategies you can feel better and live a happy and vibrant life.

However, before we are able to treat mood disorders, we must first be able to recognize the symptoms.

At The Grand Healthcare System, we offer extensive training and in-services for our nurses and staff, to be able to effectively recognize the nuances and symptoms of depression and other mood disorders as early as possible, so that they can effectively treat the symptoms at the source before they mushroom.

We hope this list of symptoms will offer helpful insight into recognizing the signs that your loved one may be suffering from a mood disorder.

Symptoms of mood disorders include:

  • Sustained sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference, apathy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Loss of energy, lethargy
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests or hobbies
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Mood swings
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Persistent or intense fear or worry
  • Feelings of nervousness, apprehension or dread
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling tense, “jumpy” or on edge
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety include fast/pounding heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, shaking/tremors/twitches, muscle tension, headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, frequent need to urinate, diarrhea, fatigue.

Dementia vs. Depression in seniors

As a general rule, never assume that a loss of mental sharpness is just a normal sign of old age. It could be a sign of either depression or dementia, both of which are common in older adults and the elderly. Depression and dementia share overlapping symptoms, including memory problems, sluggish speech and movements, and low motivation, so it can be difficult to tell the two apart.

I found this great graphic online to help distinguish between Depression and Dementia:

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Judah is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, with additional years of experience as an Admissions and Marketing Director.

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