No demographic is insulated from the devasting effects of clinical depression. Older adults are particularly susceptible to experiencing the symptoms of depression. According to the CDC, approximately 1% to 5% of older adults are living with clinical depression. This percentage increases to 13.5% for older adults who require home healthcare and 11.5% in older adult hospital patients. Clinical depression in older adults can often be exacerbated by an increased stigma attached to mental illness than of their younger counterparts.
TMS Health Solutions knows that treating late-life clinical depression comes with unique challenges. But clinical depression does not have to be a normal part of aging, and TMS treatment can be a viable option for older adults looking to overcome their symptoms of depression.
Confused Symptoms Can Lead to Misdiagnosis
Older adults undergo a surprisingly large amount of changes in circumstances in their golden years. Retirement, dealing with serious illnesses, moving into assisted living facilities, and the death of a loved one, to name a few. After such changes in circumstances, some older adults have difficulty regaining their emotional stability which can lead to depression. To make matters worse, late-life depression is commonly confused for the effects of other illnesses, disabilities and medications used to treat them. Leaving clinical depression untreated or delays in adequate treatment can be detrimental to any person, especially for older adults.
Interplay between Depression and Other Illnesses
Older adults are no strangers to serious medical illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Roughly 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 50% have two or more. Medication used to treat such serious illness can cause side effects that lead to depression. The combination of serious illnesses with depression can have dire consequence. Clinical Depression can make such serious illnesses worse and vice versa. Doctors experienced in such serious illnesses can help by creating an optimal treatment strategy.
Modified Symptoms of Late-Life Depression
Symptoms of depression can manifest in different ways for elderly adults than for their younger counterparts. Many older adults dealing with depression do not experience the classic symptom of sadness. Instead, older adults have less obvious symptoms which again makes diagnosing the disorder difficult. Knowing the symptoms of late life depression can help you identify and treat the disorder quicker and more efficiently. Such symptoms include: low motivation, a lack of energy, irritability, crying spells, apathy, restlessness, lack of concentration, withdrawal, changes in appetite, thoughts of suicide, or physical problems such as arthritis or headaches.
Treating Late-Life Depression
Treating clinical depression in older adults consist of the same methods used by everyone but must be tailored to the aging population. Many older adults find support from family and friends, involvement in self-help and support groups, and psychotherapy. Antidepressants can take a bit longer to take effect in the elderly because doctors are hesitant to prescribe normal doses because older adults sensitivity to medication. Further, having other illnesses at the same time as depression can restrict the effectiveness of antidepressants.
TMS for Late-Life Depression
For any older adults that may be reluctant to try antidepressants for any reason, there is a new form of treatment for clinical depression that is sweeping the nation. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS, uses magnets fields, like those used during an MRI, to regulate the area of the brain that regulates mood. TMS is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that has virtually no side-effects compared to antidepressants. TMS is also being used to address memory disorders like mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia. The FDA has cleared the use of TMS for adults up to age 70. If you live in central or northern California and are interested in TMS, check out TMS Health Solutions’ website or call (844) 867-8444 for more information.
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