According to research, depression is the most common problem to affect elderly people. Elderly people may be more susceptible to some of the effects of depression. The use of antidepressants for elderly patients is sometimes considered a viable treatment. However, there are an increased number of risks associated with senior antidepressant use.
Diagnosis of Depression in Elderly People
Before prescribing antidepressants, a proper diagnosis is needed. Many symptoms of depression are similar to symptoms of other conditions that elders may face. Common symptoms include:
- Lack of motivation
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Mood instability
A proper diagnoses can be difficult to obtain. Due to factors like communication issues, hearing impairment and other problems associated with seniorhood, it may be challenging for a doctor to definitively diagnose depression.
Another issue is that elderly patients may not recognize their depression for what it is. They may consider these symptoms to result naturally from their old age. In this case, they may avoid seeking treatment at all.
Using Antidepressants for Elderly People
Elderly people tend to respond to antidepressants just as quickly as younger people. They require similar doses and dose frequency.
The next step is to decide upon the best antidepressant. You’ll have to talk to your doctor about this. Your doctor will likely take some information into account, such as:
- The current symptoms
- The elderly person’s health and health history
- Any other conditions that they’re experiencing
- Any other medication that they’re taking
It’s important to consider these factors because antidepressant treatment can worsen certain conditions. For example, patients with dementia, heart problems, diabetes or Parkinson’s may find that their symptoms worsen with certain antidepressants.
Best Antidepressants for Elderly Patients
Some antidepressants are more promising. These are the best ones to use for older people.
- SSRIs. These are the most popular antidepressants. They work on serotonin. These drugs have a low profile of side effects.
- SNRIs. These drugs also work on serotonin. They often provide more energy than SSRIs.
- Atypical drugs. These are drugs that don’t fit neatly into the previous categories. Drugs like Bupropion and Mirtazipine are usually received well by seniors.
Doctors also prescribe MAOIs. However, these drugs are riskier than the ones listed above. They tend to interact more often with other substances.
The most important thing is to communicate with your doctor. Your doctor might also suggest other lifestyle changes. These might include:
- Eating healthy. A diet rich in fruits and veggies does wonders for mental health.
- Exercise. Regular, gentle exercise helps fight depression.
- Relaxation techniques. Breathwork and meditation help to fight depression.
Older people often respond well to antidepressants. However, it’s important to be careful. Communicate often with your doctor to ensure that your treatment is going to plan.
If you’re starting to struggle with other mental health problems, you might want to consider other meds. Check out this article comparing the use of antidepressants and antipsychotics.
If you’re having low energy, you’ll want a stimulating drug. This article talks about how to choose an energizing antidepressant to suit your lifestyle.