Depression is a serious illness that can cause persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how people feel, think, and behave; it can even lead to physical symptoms. Unfortunately, depression cannot be simply “snapped out of”. For most sufferers, long-term treatment is required such as medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. 

Symptoms of Depression

Depression can affect anyone at any age. Symptoms of depression vary depending on the individual and often go undiagnosed or untreated in older adults. Common symptoms of depression include feeling sad, irritable, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, sleep disturbances, lack of energy, change in appetite and weight, anxiety, worthlessness, difficulty concentrating and thinking and suicidal thoughts. 

If you are having thoughts of suicide, it is important to know that help is available. You can call a mental health professional or suicide hotline for support, reach out to a friend or loved one, or contact your faith community leader. In an emergency situation, make sure someone stays with the person and call 911 immediately. 

It is important to remember that depression is not a normal part of growing older and should never be taken lightly. Older adults may experience different or less obvious symptoms such as memory problems, personality changes, physical aches, fatigue, loss of appetite or sex drive and wanting to stay home rather than socializing. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a medical professional. If you’re unsure about seeking treatment, consider speaking with someone you trust such as a friend or family member, health care professional, or faith leader.

Treatment Options 

Depression is a highly treatable mental disorder. Our team of medical professionals will conduct an extensive evaluation to identify the symptoms and explore potential causes, such as medical conditions or environmental factors. We can also perform blood tests to ensure that any physical problems are not causing your depression-like symptoms. With this information, we can accurately diagnose your condition and develop an effective plan of action to help you get relief from your symptoms. Our goal is for the majority of our patients with depression to respond well to treatment and gain some measure of relief.

One option that may be considered for depression management is medication. Antidepressants work by modifying the brain chemistry and should not be confused with sedatives, uppers, or tranquilizers. Patients might start to experience some relief from symptoms within the first week or two, but it may take several weeks for a full effect to be felt. If no improvements are seen, the dose can be adjusted, or another medication substituted. In some cases, other psychotropic medications may be helpful to manage depression symptoms. Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients take medication for at least six months after their symptoms have improved and longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested for those at higher risk of future episodes.

At Rancho Family Medical, our team of experienced professionals are here to help diagnose and manage depression. With the right care and treatment plan we can help get you back on track with your life and activities that were once enjoyable. Don’t wait to get the help you need; contact us today for more information about our services.  Together we can work towards living a healthier, happier life. To book an appointment with one of our physicians, please call us at (951) 225-6808.