Depression can strike at any age |

Depression can strike at any age

by Katherine Davis

Depression is a mood disorder that robs people of joy and energy, causing increased worry and anxiety.

This illness is related to an imbalance of substances in the brain called neurotransmitters. This decrease in neurotransmitters has nothing to do with one’s character, one’s spiritual belief or level of faith, or their hardiness as an individual. Like a person suffering from diabetes, depression is a physiological illness that requires medical attention for the physical symptoms, as well as therapy to help with adapting to life’s changing circumstances. Events that can stress the body and lead to depression include:

Chronic illness or chronic pain

Reactions to chemical exposure or medications

Social, psychological, financial or cultural stressors

Grief and loss

Age (because the older we get, the more likely that we will experience more than one of the above situations).

Some medications can cause depression or anxiety symptoms. This doesn’t mean you should stop taking those medications (which can be life sustaining), but does mean you should address the depression or anxiety.

Many cardiac and blood pressure medications, steroids, analgesics, central nervous system depressants and antipsychotics as well as histamine blockers, anti-Parkinson agents and cancer treatment drugs can magnify feelings of depression.

Chronic pain and the medication used to relieve it are associated with increased symptoms of depression. Pain, over time, strips the body’s coping mechanisms and depletes the neurotransmitter pool, leading to physiological depression.

If these symptoms remind you of yourself, a neighbor, friend or family member, there is hope and help available through Vitality For Life, a senior-centered mental health wellness clinic located at Carson Valley Medical Center. At Vitality, we will give you the tools you need through medication management and counseling support, as you adapt to life’s changing circumstances. Please feel free to call us at 782-1599. We’re here to help you find a window of hope to live your golden years with promise and confidence.

Katherine Davis is a registered nurse and is director of the Vitality for Life program at Carson Valley Medical Center.