Though depression and anxiety are common throughout the life cycle; depression and older age have commonly been associated with one another (Mulsant, 1998). Unfortunately, many elderly people are not satisfied and look at this stage as depressing. After years of planning, dreaming, and expecting the golden years to be the highlight of one's life, the increased number of stressors related to aging causes feelings of depression.
Depression can happen at any age from birth to death. Depression is a "heterogeneous disorder" that can begin early in life and have recurrent episodes later in life, or the first onset may occur late in life (Doris, 1999, p.1369). "It is already said that depression affects about one sixth of the population or more" (Doris, 1999, p.1370). Depression is a very personal illness. The mental anguish of depression can be quite unimaginable to someone who has not experienced it. Depression is not a number, but is the brain's response to either some powerful event in life or even a physiological response to changes that may be taking place. Depression can also be the result of a medical condition or even medication. "Depression is the most prevalent functional psychiatric disorder in late life" (Mulsant, 1998, p.186).
"Depression is defined as a state of despondency marked by feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness" (Coon, 2001, p.89). Some people can mix up depression with just having the blues because of a couple of bad days or even weeks. The cause of depression is still obscure and becoming clear that a number of diverse factors are likely to be implicated, both genetic and environmental. "Some causes are leading stressful lives, genetic factors, a previous depressive episode, and the personality trait neuroticism" (Doris, 1999, p.1369). The National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control (1995) reports depression can appear after a triggering event or for no apparent reason.... [continues]
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