Depression in the Elderly (cont.)
In this Article
How is insomnia related to depression in the elderly?
Insomnia is usually a symptom of depression. New studies reveal that insomnia is also a risk factor for depression onset and recurrence -- particularly in the elderly.
To treat insomnia, experts recommend the newer "hypnotic" drugs that are safe and effective in elderly people. If there's no improvement in the sleep disorder and/or depression, a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist may prescribe medications and/or psychotherapy.
What are risk factors for depression in the elderly?
Factors that increase the risk of depression in the elderly include:
Physical conditions like stroke, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and chronic pain further increase the risk of depression. Additionally, the following risk factors for depression are often seen in the elderly:
Brain scans of people who develop their first depression in old age often reveal spots in the brain that may not be receiving adequate blood flow. Chemical changes in these cells may enhance the likelihood of depression separate from any life stress.
Reviewed on 5/17/2012
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