Older Adults and Depression (NIMH)

Do you feel very tired, helpless and hopeless? Are you sad most of the time and take no pleasure in your family, friends, or hobbies? Are you having trouble working, sleeping, eating, and functioning? Have you felt this way for a long time? If so, you may have depression.

Everyone feels down or sad sometimes, but these feelings usually pass after a few days.When you have depression, you have trouble with daily life for weeks at a time. Depression is a serious illness that needs treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to suicide.

Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is not a normal part of aging. It may be overlooked because for some older adults, sadness is not their main symptom.They may have other, less obvious symptoms of depression or they may not be willing to talk about their feelings. Therefore, doctors may be less likely to recognize that their patient has depression.

It is important to remember that a person with depression cannot simply “snap out of it.” Treatment choices differ for each person, and sometimes different treatments must be tried until you find one that works.

A publication from the National Institute of Mental Health

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