Aging: Depression - Don't Let the Blues Hang Around

Everyone feels blue now and then. It's part of life. But if you no longer enjoy activities that you usually like, you may have a more serious problem. Being depressed, without letup, can change the way you think and feel. Doctors call this medical disorder "clinical depression."

Being "down in the dumps" over a period of time is not a normal part of getting older. But it is a common problem, and medical help may be needed. For most people, depression will get better with treatment. "Talk" therapy, medicine, or other treatment methods can ease the pain of depression. You do not need to suffer.

There are many reasons why depression in older people is often hard to detect and treat. As a person ages, the signs of depression are much more varied than at younger ages. It can appear as increased tiredness, or it can be seen as grumpiness. Sometimes people who are depressed lose interest in eating and can lose weight. Confusion or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer's disease or other brain disorders. Mood changes and signs of depression can be caused by medicines older people may take for arthritis, high blood pressure, or heart disease. The good news is that people who are depressed usually feel better with the right treatment.