Depression can be like thief in the night, creeping in when it’s dark and stealing something precious: your joy. Depression can begin at any time, including later in life, even if you’ve never experienced it before. Studies estimate that more than 2 million Americans over age 65 suffer from depression each year, often as a complication of another illness or after the death of a spouse or loved one.
Do you know what signs of depression to look for in your own life, and what to do if you experience them? Check out these four signs of depression and then seek appropriate assistance from a medical provider or staff in your assisted living community if needed.
1. Loss of interest in hobbies and everyday life
If you suddenly lose interest in activities that once captivated your time and attention, or now find that you simply don’t care what happens in your day-to-day life, you could be suffering from depression. This may occur because you are so preoccupied by the events or issues that are causing problems in your life that you can no longer concentrate or take joy from doing anything else.
2. Excessive sleep or completely unable to sleep
Two sides of the same coin: the inability to sleep and the inability to stop sleeping. Despite being opposites, both can be a sign of depression. When you can't sleep, it may be because you can't stop dwelling on issues that are responsible for your depression. Excessive sleeping could be your body’s way of “escaping” unpleasant thoughts or situations.
3. Excessive or continuous crying
Crying is a normal emotional reaction, and you should not feel any shame or stigma for crying occasionally. But if you start crying and cannot stop, or cry consistently for a long time, it may be a sign that your sadness or grief is actually depression.
4. Muddled or dark thoughts
If you can't get your thoughts straight (and other neurological issues have already been ruled out) or if your thoughts turn very dark and you begin contemplating self-harm or death, depression may have its tentacles in you. Certainly if you begin thinking about suicide, it’s important to reach out for help as soon as possible.
How to Respond to Depression
If you believe you're suffering from depression, reach out to the Cambridge Court staff or your Kearney area doctor for assistance.
If you're simply feeling a little blue and aren't sure you're dealing with long-term depression, try a few of these tips to boost your mood.
If your depression is too much for you to handle on your own — and admitting that can be hard but necessary — your healthcare practitioner needs to be your next phone call. He or she can run a variety of tests to rule out imbalances or other issues that may be causing the symptoms you are experiencing.
Afterwards, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications that can help you battle your daily depression or recommend that you begin seeing a therapist or psychiatrist to explore other forms of treatment or therapy.
Depression is not insurmountable. Here at Cambridge Court, we want to make sure you live the most vibrant life possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our on-site staff for help at any time you may need it.