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Depression common in elderly

Depression is a common, but not a normal response to advancing age. End of life issues and loss of independence due to frailty and declining health bring about mental illness all too commonly in the elderly population. Depression is the most prevalent mental illness. Depressed people lose motivation to eat, sleep, participate in everyday activities, or care for themselves. Other common forms of mental illness in the elderly include anxiety and memory loss. Mental illness is usually focused through a physical complaint, which distracts both the patient and the doctor from the true cause. Without identification of the mental illness and adequate treatment, a large number of the elderly commit suicide. The lack of appropriately trained physicians in the area of geriatrics contributes to this inadequacy. The elderly respond just as well as younger patients to treatment for their mental illness in the form of medication and therapy, but are less likely to receive it. New services designed towards provisions for mental illness in the elderly and education for doctors and carers of the elderly are being implemented to improve the care of the aging population.

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by The Morning Call

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About: Depression common in elderly

Date: 22 May 2005

Source: The Morning Call

Author: Kelly O'Shea Carney

URL: http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/all-carneymay22,0,102402.story?coll=all-newsopinion-hed

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