Depression Is Too Natural In The Elderly
We all have been sad at one time or another. But depression is an exaggerated sadness that can limit our appreciation of life in various degrees for short or long periods of time.
There are scales of depression and the lower levels can hit us seemingly out of nowhere at times of stress. Things like losing a boyfriend or making an ‘F’ on a school paper can cause temporary depression.
Severe Clinical Depression, however, is measurably worse than the sad reaction to a temporary current life situation and usually is much longer lasting. SCD is often caused by chemical imbalances manifested as an exaggerated feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Severe Clinical Depression can be felt at any age, but is more common in the elderly. It can be brought on when we lean totally on our physical looks and do not prepare ourselves to be an elderly person. This limited thinking can set us up for real sadness and depression when we reach the later years.
One day we may wake up and notice that we don’t have much life left and that we are all alone and unhappy about the outcome of our life. When we look into the mirror, and suddenly, instead of seeing the youthful person we always thought we’d be, we find ourselves reflect as the old lady we passed in the grocery store. The shock can cause tremendous depression. This is why it is very important to understand and accept the inevitable process of aging. What Shakespeare wrote is so true...We are born without hair and teeth, and we die without hair and teeth. It happens eventually to everyone. Even if we had lots and lots of money, our cellular body will still be doing the aging thing.
More often Severe Clinical Depression in the elderly is a result of things like chronic aches and pains that severely limit movement or loss of sight or hearing that keeps them from being comfortable around and enjoying the people and lifestyles that they are used to. Depression in the elderly is often the inevitable result of real disease that prevents normal activities or functions.
This is why it is so very important for everyone to be a little educated on the effects of aging. Educating ourselves about the aging process can help us understand that one day we too will grow old and learning about aging will help us accept the things we cannot change that inevitably accommodate the aging process and grow old with dignity and grace.
According to Lee Phillips, M.D. (www.personalMD.com , Medical Advisory Board), current research has revealed that in depression, neural circuits responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly and that critical neurotransmitters - (chemicals used by nerve cells to communicate) - are usually out of balance. Dr. Phillips also comments that Genetics research indicates that vulnerability to depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with environmental factors.
Although there are many different medications that are used to treat depression, like Mellaril, Elavil, Haldol, Lithium, Librium and Prozac; these chemicals can a lot of times make things much worse.
Depression medications are made to help people with low energy levels and concentration. Although they can help you sleep, possibly improve your mood, and help with your appetite, synthetic ‘mood’ medications should be used only if unavoidable because they can cause liver damage and other physical and mental problems that add to the depression.
Cognitive therapy aims to help people recognize and change negative thought patterns that can lead to depression. Attitude has a lot to do with not letting yourself get depressed. If you are always thinking in negative ways, you can really do some damage to yourself mentally. When someone has these kinds of thoughts for longer than maybe 2 weeks, doctors say you need to seek help. The earlier you can stop the pattern of negative thinking, the happier your life can be.
Who wants to be an old person that is depressed and doesn’t have any friends because no one wants to be around them? Unhealthy thinking patterns are definitely mentally destroying and in the long run will affect the health. Untreated depression may have severe side effects that can easily be pushed into suicide.
I feel we should not let ourselves go too without much contact with others. If we’re left alone, and are depressed, we have all that time to think more negatively. That is why we should try to stay as active as our age will allow.
Make yourself commit to a stopping the input of bad words and thoughts. Whether the words are coming from yourself, or from other people, the habit can form that will fill your mind with sadness. Do not let yourself get entangled with depression. By the time you realize that you aren’t getting out anymore, you may be too sad, tired, or irritable to take the steps it takes to change the thought patterns and turn your life around.
So the key things that you can do to lesson the chance of being depressed in the later years are
1. be aware of your thought pattern so you will be able to do what it takes to get you feeling better about life;
2. seek help if temporary depression lasts too long, and
3. be willing to accept any changes that accompany you into old age.
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