Depression in the elderly
Depression is a mental illness most common in the elderly. Untreated, the disorder of pathological mood reduces lifespan and increases the use of health care and hospitalization.

Important cause dependency and entry into nursing home, depression is associated with a risk of suicidal acting out, including residential accommodation for dependent elderly people (retirement homes). The function of helping an addict also has a high risk of depression. Chief Medical Officer Service psycho-geriatric hospital Bretonneau Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Dr. Olivier Drunat talks about this common disease in old age life.

What symptoms characteristic of depression?

If 10 to 20% of people over sixty-five express depressive traits, they do not make them sick with depression. Sadness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of interest are symptoms alone and do not allow momentary make a diagnosis of depression. Rather, their association and their persistence for at least two weeks set the depressive syndrome. Thus, 1 to 2% over 65 years and 13% of residents in retirement homes have a depressive episode characteristic.

What forms can take depression in the elderly?

With advancing age, depressive illness takes a few specific clinical forms including somatic. It can be either bodily complaints such as pain, palpitations, oppression ... if not, look like crazy. The elderly person has a propensity to appear persecution, to believe ruined or become jealous for depression. Finally, disorders of attention and concentration can mimic the memory impairment found in other diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, depression in old age life is a sign of vulnerability. Monitoring should continue to flush out as quickly as possible underlying diseases such as dementia (including Alzheimer's) but somatic. Depression is often associated with somatic diseases such as stroke or cancer, but also as a psychiatric or alcohol dependence more frequently anxiety. This coexistence becomes a factor of poor prognosis in terms of duration of care and functional recovery.

What treatments you suggest?

The same treatments as younger patients: doses of drugs are equivalent but with a period of prescription of at least six months due to a slower recovery. For non-drug approaches, psychological support is always appreciated because it is everybody's business, much of the entourage that health care professionals. Relational quality proves essential. However, although possible, specific psychiatric approaches are not always accessible geographically or financially.

How do you move forward in taking care of this disease?

Sometimes underestimated depression in the elderly appears to cause dependence and even premature death. Sometimes overestimated, it is a source of iatrogenic. Representations of old age influence our clinical discernment. The trivialization of "decay with age" is blind while the dramatization of the crisis of aging process altogether medicalized normal. The presence of depressive symptoms in an elderly person requires medical expertise to initiate appropriate treatment. In this always taken care overall, the drug is not a panacea and the company is not responsible for all ills. It is certain that even older one can go the "thirty-sixth below" and put forward the pleasure of living scene, even very old.

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