Depression can impact anyone regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender; however, large-scale observational studies have found depression to be about twice as common among women as among men. Studies in the United States report that depressive disorders affect 8.5% of women and approximately 5% of men in any given one-year cycle. Yet important questions continue to be asked about the underlying causes of this disparity in class.
Is depression really less frequent in men, for example, or are men less likely to identify, accept, and receive help for depression than women?
Men identified their own symptoms of depression in focus groups administered by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to measure perceptions of depression without knowing that they were depressed. Notably, many were unaware that depression may be linked with “normal” symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.Many have expressed concern about seeing a mental health professional or going to a mental health clinic, assuming people would find out, and this could have a negative impact on their job security, career opportunities, or health insurance benefits. They feared it would lose them the support of their family and friends or their standing in the community to be branded with a diagnosis of mental health.
When men age, they have to deal with several forms of tension. If they have been their family’s primary wage earners and strongly associated with their work, they may feel stress on retirement-loss of an important role, loss of self-esteem-that may lead to depression. Depression can also be caused by the loss of friends and relatives and the onset of other health problems. Nonetheless, most elderly people are satisfied with their lives and feeling depressed is not “natural” for older adults. Depression is a disease that can be managed successfully, reducing unnecessary suffering, increasing chances of recovery from other conditions, and prolonging productive life.
Health care professionals, however, may neglect depressive symptoms in older patients, who are often reluctant to discuss feelings of hopelessness, depression, loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities, or excessively extended sorrow following death, and who may mainly talk about physical symptoms. It may also be difficult to discern a co-occurring depressive disorder in people with other disorders, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which in itself may cause depressive symptoms, or may be treated with depression-like side effects.Once diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, diagnosis with supplements for men, appropriate medication and/or short psychotherapy may help older adults control all conditions, while increasing longevity and quality of life.
The reports on suicide by elderly people emphasize the importance of detecting and treating depression among older adults. There is a common perception that suicide rates among young people are the greatest; however, the highest rates are the elderly, especially the older white males. Nearly 70 percent of older suicide victims returned to a primary care physician within the month of their death, many with an unrecognized psychiatric disorder. This has contributed to research efforts to understand the best way to improve the ability of doctors of older adults to diagnose and treat depression.
Approximately 80% of older adults with depression recover after undergoing
antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Evidence has also shown that a mixture of psychotherapy and prescription medications is extremely effective in reducing the recurrence of depression in older adults. It has been shown that psychotherapy alone prolongs periods of good health without stress and is particularly useful for older patients who can not or will not take medication. Increased late-life identification and treatment of depression will make the years more comfortable and rewarding for the elderly, families and relatives who are depressed.