Late Adulthood and Depression

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Late adulthood should be a time in a person's life where they feel fulfilled. They can look back on their memories and be happy with the way they have lived their life. Now, too many elderly people are not satisfied and look at this stage as depressing. Most fear death of either a loved one or for themselves. This topic is interesting to me because elderly people should make the best of their last stage of life. This topic discusses about getting older, the life changes that they go through physically, emotionally, and mentally. We should know more about it so that we can help our family and friends get through one of the best, yet toughest part of our mortal life. Depression is defined as "a state of despondency marked by feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness" (Coon, 2001). Some people can mix up depression with just having the blues because of a couple of bad days or even weeks. It is already said that depression affects about one sixth of the population or more (Doris, Ebmeier, Shajahan, 1999). Depression can happen in any age range from birth to death. 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, et al., 1999). There are many common symptoms in which everybody looks for which is unhappiness and disappointment. Symptoms that are different, pervasive, or interfere with normal function are considered to be pathological. Some symptoms include loss of pleasure in almost all activities, loss of reactivity to usually pleasurable stimuli, significant loss of appetite or weight loss and excessive or inappropriate guilt (Doris, et al., 1999). There are many forms of treatment that can be used for this disease. There are always new research and medications that are being tested out on patients. Many depressed patients will not go and get help. "Pharmacotherapy is the most common treatment in primary care response rates between 50% and 60%, and is often used in addition to supportive counseling." (Doris, et al., 1999) More treatments that can be used are Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), Repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and many alternative physical therapies. Electro-convulsive therapy is used in severe, life-threatening depressive illnesses. This is usually used after pharmacotherapy has failed. Repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation is an experimental treatment for depression. Although there are not many studies involving this treatment, patients either have treatment-resistant depression or have less severe disorders. (Doris, et al., 1999). The age of late adulthood rages from the age of sixty and above. For some elderly people, life after retirement can be great. Yet for some, it can be the worse time of their life. "Work has always been a central concern in their lives, symbolizing their identities and providing them with self-esteem." (Kavanaugh, 1997). The changes that occur to their body and mind can change how they choose to live the rest of their life. In Erick Erickson's psychosocial dilemmas, late adulthood deals with integrity versus despair. This is defined as "a conflict in old age between feelings of personal integrity and the despair that occurs when previous life events are viewed with regret" (Coon, 2001). When thinking back about their lives, they should feel good and when they start to think about the failure in their life is when they have feelings of depression because they know it is too late to change anything. "Old age deepens our understanding- not only of ourselves, but of aspects of life we may have avoided" ( Matousek, 1999). Depression can occur at any age, but usually increases among older people. One of the big causes of late adulthood depression is related to the loss of a loved one or spouse. In a study done by the American...
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