Depression in the Elderly Mental Disorders Case Study

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Depression in the Elderly

Mental disorders are becoming more prevalent in today's society as people add stress and pressure to their daily lives. The elderly population is not eliminated as a candidate for a disorder just because they may be retired. In fact, mental disorders affect 1 in 5 elderly people. One would think that with disorders being rather prevalent in this age group that there would be an abundance of treatment programs, but this is not the case. Because the diagnosis of an individual's mental state is subjective in nature, many troubled seniors remain untreated. Depression in the elderly population is a common occurrence, yet the diagnosis and treatment seem to slip through the cracks (Ellison and Verma, 2003).

Depression is often difficult to diagnose, and the health care industry contributes to the overlooking of depression in the elderly because of the overwhelming desire to keep costs down. The factors of depression are open for interpretation, which results in different doctors looking for different things. In addition to that, elderly people may not exhibit the traditional symptoms of depression. Aged individuals may have symptoms of depression that go unnoticed due the fact that those symptoms are being attributed to a different ailment. Also, up to 50% of all depressed patients seen by general physicians are not identified as depressed. Also, some of the things people look for in detecting depression are things that society seems to think are the norm for our elders (Brody and Semel, 2006).

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In addition, there appear to be a few fundamental differences between depression in the young and old. Elderly people tend to have more ideational symptoms, which are related to thoughts, ideas, and guilt. Elderly depressed individuals are also more likely to have psychotic depressive and melancholic symptoms such as anorexia and weight loss. Finally, older people tend to have more anxiety present in their depression than younger patients (Ibid).

Case Study on Depression in the Elderly Mental Disorders Are Assignment

In the natural order of things, bodies tend to wear down somewhat and people become higher risk candidates for various health problems. It is the increase in health problems that allows for some symptoms of depression to be overlooked. Doctors begin to attribute all problems and ailments to the primary problem, neglecting the possibility of depression. The prevalence of low blood pressure is one of those items that do increase as an individual ages. The correlation of depression with low blood pressure also increases as time passes, particularly among men. A study by Barrett-Connor and Palinkas (1994) indicated "men with low blood pressure scored significantly higher on both the emotional and physical items of a depression test." These same individuals also scored higher on measures of pessimism, sadness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and preoccupation with health than did people with normal blood pressure. Some believe that because low blood pressure can cause fatigue, anyone with these two symptoms could possibly be diagnosed with depression. This is a snowball effect where the low blood pressure causes the fatigue, which in turn causes someone to feel useless, which further develops into other possible depressed symptoms. An interesting side note to this study was that the low blood pressure found in the patients was not directly related to any chronic health condition (Ibid).

Low blood pressure is not the only risk factor for the development of depression. Some other factors include losses dealing with jobs, status, finances, physical ability, or relocation. Family problems dealing with divorce, siblings, children, or a death can also send one… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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