Just about everyone occasionally feels “a bit off” or loses interest in life. But if you’re older and “feeling down” for several weeks or months, then you may have depression – a medical illness that affects 3 out of every 100 adults ages 65 and older.
Physicians at State of Franklin Healthcare Associates (SoFHA) want you to know that depression is NOT a normal part of aging. While getting older does bring changes – such as retirement, home downsizing or loss of loved ones – these events shouldn’t bring long-term sadness or joyless living. The truth is that being depressed all the time can actually hurt your overall health. It weakens your ability to fight off other illnesses (shingles, flu, even cancer) and interferes with thinking.
When “Feeling Down” Takes Over
First, see your physician to find out if you truly have medical depression. It’s possible your “down feeling” may be due to another condition – such as diabetes or thyroid disorder. Even medications (for blood pressure or arthritis) can affect your overall mood. Getting a physical assessment will help rule out all other possibilities. The good news is that nearly 90 percent of people with depression can be treated and will improve! If you’re feeling down for much too long, don’t wait! See your SoFHA physician as soon as possible.
Signs of Depression
- Overall tiredness with aches and pains
- Moving and speaking more slowly
- Nighttime insomnia
- Weight increase or decrease
- Blurred vision, dizziness, racing heart and anxiety
- Inability to focus or think straight
- General sadness and lack of feeling pleasure
- Feeling irritable, moody and/or complaining often
- Feeling worthless and guilty for no reason
- Frequent doctor visits without relief in symptoms
- Increased alcohol consumption
Learn More about Our Approach
Visit www.sofha.net or call 423-794-5500 for an appointment. SoFHA’s main campus is at 301 Med Tech Parkway, Johnson City, Tennessee 37604.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness website and the NAMI’s Depression in Older Persons Fact Sheet.