Leipzig / Berlin (DPA/tmn). Those who are about 60, 70 or 80 years old have already experienced a lot. This also has a good side: mental resistance is often higher than the younger. After all, older people have had to learn for decades to deal with disappointments or losses. But at the same time, crisis moments accumulate in old age: the death of a partner or a friend, a serious illness – or simply an experience that you are not the kind you used to be. The result may be depression.
It is often underestimated: Depression in old age
It is a disease that is often underestimated – especially in old age. Doctors and family members often take long-term depressive mood in older people as a natural reaction to the bitterness of life. "In addition, those who have been hit by themselves blame themselves, are exhausted and hopeless and therefore often do not go to a doctor," he says. Prof. Ulrich Hegerl. The specialist for psychiatry, neurology and psychotherapy is the president of the German Foundation for Depression.
How to recognize depression
Depression can actually be treated in old age, says Iris Hauth, chief physician at Alexianer Berlin-Weissensee. "Then we are discussing depression when symptoms such as drive, satisfaction, and indifference last for at least two weeks," explains psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Women are about twice as likely to be affected as men.
"The prerequisite is a suitable predisposition, and sometimes it is added negatively as a trigger," says Hegerl. Illness affects the mind, feelings, and behaviors of those affected and can cause tremendous suffering. Only rarely can they themselves be relieved of depressing mood and indifference.
Relatives play an important role
"A sick person's family also plays an important role," said psychologist Christine Sowinski of Kuratorium Deutscher Altershilfe. They should not undermine depressive moods at all. Hauth advises relatives to inquire carefully and definitely about their condition. "I'm worried about you, please seek professional help" – it's important to clarify.
However, this also applies to: "There are situations where members meet with their constraints," warns Sowinski. If, for example, a sick person says that he or she wants to commit suicide, relatives should call for urgent help. He can send a person to the clinic.
Contact Points for Suspect Depressive Disorders
The first point of contact for suspicion of depressive disorder is usually a family doctor. In order to find the cause of the symptoms, the first blood tests occur. "For example, thyroid disorders and vitamin B deficiency are excluded," explains Hauth.
Do not confuse dementia and depression
Depression can sometimes manifest itself in speech disorders and memory in old age, like dementia. To avoid confusion, ask your doctor. "Depressive patients, for example, can indicate when a patient asks, which date and where they are," says Hegerl. In patients with dementia this is often not possible.
Another Indication for Examining Doctors: If depressed patients describe their symptoms, the disease associated with the disease becomes clear. "On the other hand, people with dementia try to get their complaints more expensive or to play excessively," said Hegerl.
Diagnosis is also important for brain exams using recording techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR).
The way of treatment
If evidence of depression is collected, a family physician usually refers you to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Can treat the disease with psychotherapy or medication. "Depending on the severity, both can be combined," says Hauth. Light therapy can also help. And treatment includes physical exercises and regular exercise.
Unfortunately for loss can lead to depression
It is not uncommon for distress to mingle with depression after losing a loved one. Both mental states are similar, but there are differences: sadness always has a direct cause and is decreasing over time. In depression, however, the sufferers always feel indomitable, empty and hardened, and Hauth.
However, it may happen that sorrow causes depression – either because you can not overcome the loss or because there have been several deaths in your neighborhood environment.