Help with depression in later life.
We all feel a bit down from time to time, but we can usually shrug off a low mood after a few days and it does not stop us working or living life.
But if that mood persists and gets so bad that you cannot see anything positive about the future; if feelings of prolonged sadness and guilt sap your energy and concentration, affecting your sleep and appetite; if you even start to think life is not worth living, you may have depression.
Because it is an illness, just like pneumonia or a broken leg, and is NOT due to a personality defect or lack of “moral fibre”, depression is also treatable. Talking therapy or antidepressants can often resolve even a serious depression in a few weeks.
No two people with depression are the same. There are many symptoms of depression including:
- feelings of sadness or low mood that won’t go away
- feeling anxious
- lack of energy and a feeling of exhaustion
- loss of interest in day-to-day activities and hobbies
- a feeling of physically slowing up, or sometimes feeling restless
- loss of concentration and memory
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Some of the symptoms also occur in other conditions, like anxiety disorder, thyroid disease or dementia, so it is important for it to be diagnosed by a doctor with the appropriate skills.
What are the causes?
Depression can come on after a life event such as retirement or bereavement, but often there is no clear trigger. People who have some physical illnesses (such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease) or are socially isolated are more prone to depression. It is thought that changes of a chemical in the brain called serotonin may be linked to depression.
Key facts about depression
- It affects 1 in 3 people at some point in their lives.
- According to the World Health Organisation, it is the leading cause of disability in the world, affecting about one in 20 people at any one time.
- Up to 10% of people with depression will attempt suicide
- Depression can be effectively treated
Depression can affect all aspects of your life. You may notice that you are not able to work as efficiently. You may withdraw from friends and social activities and not enjoy life as much. You may notice that you lack energy to do even simple things like mowing the lawn or walking the dog. Some people with depression cry for no reason or get more irritable.
How is it diagnosed?
The only way to diagnose depression is for a doctor who is experienced in making the diagnosis to assess your mood. They will take a full account of your symptoms, background, current circumstances, and medical history. There are no blood tests or scans that will aid the diagnosis, but a doctor may order these to rule out medical problems that mimic the symptoms of depression.
What is the treatment for depression?
A lot can be done to help people with depression. Firstly, just talking through your symptoms with an experienced professional can help. You realise you are not alone and that help is at hand.
A course of antidepressant tablets can be very effective. They usually take a couple of weeks to begin to work so it is important to persevere. The doctor will advise on the best tablets for you (there are many different types of antidepressants) and will monitor any side effects.
Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is also effective. This consists of meeting with a therapist every week for about 12 weeks. The good thing about CBT is that it may protect you from future relapse of depression. Quite often a doctor will advise having antidepressants and CBT at the same time.
Just as important as medical treatment for depression is making sure that you have enough, and the right kind of, social support. It may be you need help with some daily tasks for a few weeks while you recover, or have someone to help you pay bills so you have one less thing to worry about.
If you have any medical conditions (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) these may have an impact on your depression, and your depression may affect the treatment for these conditions! For this reason, holistic management , looking after all your medical and psychological needs in a joined up way is really important.
We’re Red & Yellow Care, the
health experts for later life.
At Red & Yellow Care we specialise in diagnosis, treatment, care and advice for older adults. Our approach is unique – we build a complete picture of the individual – and we treat them like an individual. We guarantee fast and flexible appointments with the very best specialists.
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How we can help
Because we are the specialists in health for older adults, we can offer all the expertise you need from one source.
We usually visit you at home, or alternatively can see you at our Consulting Rooms. We aim to arrange all appointments within a matter of days.
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First appointment up to 90 minutes, priced at £450.
Further appointments at £300 up to 60 minutes, £200 up to 30 minutes.
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We have the best consultants and other specialists dedicated to the health of older people.
We aim for our specialists to see you within a matter of days, and within 24 hours for urgent appointments.
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I have got my dad back. We’ve seen massive improvements – his morning confusion is gone, he’s not forgetful or perplexed, and his motivation has improved.
The fact that you promised to tailor your service around my mother and give full and constant support was very attractive and not something we had come across previously.
Dr Warner was amazing, we found him fantastic, and not just because the diagnosis was what we wanted. My father doesn’t always respond well to people but he responded to Dr Warner and we would all very much like to see him again.
Your team have been amazing. I’m happy again; laughing, walking, talking, playing the piano, and have no worry.