February 29, 2016

Seven Neglected Areas That Sabotage Healthy Aging – P4

People with type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to depression. Although healthy older adults have lower rates of depression than the general public, depression is still a common problem that is easily missed. It’s more common in those who are struggling with illness, involved in caregiving, or socially isolated. It’s important to spot and treat depression, as this is key to better quality of life and greater involvement in social activities. It can also enable older adults to better manage any health problems they have, such as chronic diseases, type 2 diabetes, or pain.

One important sign of depression in seniors is “anhedonia,” which means one stops enjoying activities that used to bring pleasure. If you notice this in an older person, or yourself, it’s important to get help. Studies show that medication and psychotherapy are generally equally effective in mild-moderate depression, but non-drug treatment often isn’t offered unless you ask. Among medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) sertraline and escitalopram tend to have fewer side effects and drug interactions. Avoid paroxetine (Paxil) as it is anticholinergic, which means it dampens brain function.

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