Health and Fitness

5 Things To Know About Treating Depression in Older People

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Today, the world understands how mental health is equally important as physical health. Depression can have its wrath on people, which can be pretty dangerous. Around 3.8% of the global population is already suffering from one or more effects of poor mental health or depression. Also, 5.7% of adults suffering from mental health diseases are older adults above 60. 

Although it is a relief that most older adults are not suffering from depression, the numbers are, however, not zero. At older ages, clinical depression is relatively common. Of different remedies, tms treatment for depression holds special mention. It is because of its non-invasive nature and negligible side effects. 

A big reason why late-life depression is a problematic scenario is that the symptoms match multiple illnesses. Therefore, it is hard to judge if a person is suffering from depression or if it is something else. This article is about the top five things one needs to know about depression in older adults.

Does depression in late life differ from early-age depression?

The signs and symptoms of depression vary significantly among older adults than young adults and teens. In older people, depression goes sideways with other medical problems and disabilities. Besides, older people have a higher risk of getting attacked by cardiac diseases and even death if untreated. It also reduces the ability of the person to rehabilitate. Even mild depression symptoms can also turn fatal and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Unlike teens or young adults, older people do not have the same symptoms of depression. Instead, some of the top symptoms they have are –

  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Insomnia
  • Have a grumpy attitude 
  • Feel confused in regular activities
  • Failing to pay attention to most things 
  • Moving slower than before 
  • Having a disgust for activities, they loved once
  • Change in weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feel hopeless/worthless/guilty for small reasons 
  • Enduring body pain
  • Almost no desire to live 

What are the available treatment options for older people?

Treatment options for depression in old-age include medications, counseling, and brain stimulation therapies (for example, TMS Therapy). Sometimes mental health experts suggest a combination of more than one of these treatment options. The chosen treatment option is usually a result of the severity of the depression. Besides that, the patient’s past treatments, past medications, and illnesses are also considered.

How does TMS Therapy work to cure depression in older people?

TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is not any kind of antidepressant medication. It is a non-invasive treatment for depression with high-efficiency rates. In fact, patients who opt for this therapy have not received many fruitful results from medications. Or, maybe, they have been bound to put down medications because of their long list of major side effects. TMS therapy has been successful for more than 50-60% of people. 

TMS therapy does not require any sedation, which means older patients are safe from the side effects of anesthesia. The FDA-approved procedure involves sending electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells responsible for mood control. The TMS machine has electromagnetic coils inside it. It is placed on the head of the person near the forehead. The machine sends repetitive electric pulses to the brain, activating the cells that do not have depressive activities.

The process is also known as rTMS or repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, as these impulses are sent repeatedly to the brain. TMS therapy is one of the best treatment options for older people suffering from severe depression.

Is Insomnia related to depression in old age?

Insomnia has always been a top symptom of depression. Recent studies suggest that it is also a risk factor for depression, especially in old age. Treating Insomnia is tougher in older adults for mental health experts. Most experts suggest avoiding benzodiazepine drugs or the newest hypnotic drugs. That is because the application of these drugs can bring risks of various impairments, respiratory failure, and falls. 

Instead, they suggest a low-dose formulation of sedating antidepressants. However, if sleep disorder symptoms still persist, experts might suggest other medications. In some cases, they refer to non-invasive treatment options like TMS therapy.

Do antidepressants work in old people having depression?

Studies opine that although antidepressants are helpful in some cases of late-life depression, they might not be as effective as in younger adults or teens. Moreover, one simply cannot ignore the potential risks of having various side effects. When choosing antidepressants, medical experts need to carefully determine all the factors beforehand.

Wrapping Up

Of all the treatment options for depression in older adults, tms treatment for depression is one of the top choices of health experts these days. It is mainly because the procedure has negligible side effects and provides faster relief to patients than most treatment options. 

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