Depression and Anxiety in Later Life: What Everyone Needs to Know

Depression and Anxiety in Later Life: What Everyone Needs to Know

Mark D. Miller

Language: English

Pages: 186

ISBN: 1421406306

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Physical problems and emotional stresses, such as bereavement, health conditions, pain, concerns about the future, side effects of medications, and the accumulated effects of lifestyle choices, may lead to depression or anxiety in older people. However, as Drs. Mark D. Miller and Charles F. Reynolds III know, these mental disorders are not a natural or an inevitable part of aging. In Depression and Anxiety in Later Life, these psychiatrists show how depression and anxiety can be avoided or minimized by adapting to changing circumstances while controlling risk factors and getting help when it's needed.

This reassuring book balances discussions of the causes, symptoms, and treatments of mental illness with descriptions of successful adaptive aging. Case studies illustrate the less obvious depression symptoms of irritability, disorganization, and social withdrawal. Readers will find information about memory loss, pain, sleep, nutrition, and end-of-life issues particularly helpful.

Aging can be challenging, but it doesn’t always lead to depression or anxiety. Depression and Anxiety in Later Life will help older people, their family members, and caregivers make positive changes to take control of their own individual situations.





















weight and good nutrition? How can I preserve or reactivate my sex life? How can I prepare for life’s final phase? How do I make sense of my life and continue to lead a fulfilling life? The struggle implied by each of these questions can lead a given person to feel anxious, demoralized, or depressed but also, we hope, motivated to learn more and take action. In some instances, biological or chemical processes related to the factors alluded to in these questions can cause depression or

become physiologically dependent on them as well, resulting in severe withdrawal symptoms if they are discontinued too abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can include sweating, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, irritability, and in the worst cases, seizures and even death. For these reasons, chronic use of this class of medications is discouraged in favor of short-term use with a gradual tapering to zero. Sometimes avoiding long-term use of benzodiazepines is not possible, however, as

this helped her feel a little better within a few days, since she had also been sleep deprived. After four weeks with a gradually increasing dose of antidepressant, Mary reported that she not only felt her depression lift but that her joints were not bothering her nearly as much. In fact, she said she was searching on the Internet for her next tour. None of her arthritis pain medications had been changed. As in Mary’s case, depression can magnify or exacerbate the intensity of pain perception,

for example, shy versus outgoing and predominantly “thinking” versus “feeling.” People with personality traits that interfere with their ability to function in social or workplace settings are said to have a personality disorder. Mental health professionals distinguish ten personality disorders, and some of them are risk factors for developing depression. For example, individuals with dependent personality disorder have an inordinate need to be helped or comforted by others and often become Accessed June 24, 2011. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2010. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2001. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General. Winkel, V., and B. Bair.

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