Mental disorders are becoming more prevalent in today's society as people add stress and pressure to their daily lives. The elderly population is not eliminated as a candidate for a disorder just because they may be retired. In fact, mental disorders affect 1 in 5 elderly people. One would think that with disorders being rather prevalent in this age group that there would be an abundance of treatment programs, but this is not the case. Because the diagnosis of an individual's mental state is subjective in nature, many troubled people go untreated regularly (summer 1998). Depression in the elderly population is a common occurrence, yet the diagnosis and treatment seem to slip through the cracks.
Depression is an example of a metal condition that may slip through the cracks when it comes to detection. The health care industry contributes to the overlooking of depression in the elderly because of the overwhelming desire to keep costs down. The factors of depression are open for interpretation, which results in different doctors looking for different things. In addition to that, elderly people may not exhibit the traditional symptoms of depression either. Aged individuals may have symptoms of depression that go unnoticed due the fact that those symptoms are being attributed to a different ailment. "One half of all depressed patients seen by general physicians are not identified as depressed (August 1995)." Also, some of the things people look for in detecting depression are things that society seems to think are the norm for our elders (October 1999).
In addition, there appear to be a few fundamental differences between depression in the young and old. Elderly people...
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...ust 1995. V50. P44-51.
Friedrich, M. J. "Recognizing and Treating Depression in the Elderly."
Journal of the American Medical Association. October 6, 1999.
Jackson, Rupert & Bob Baldwin. "Detecting Depression in Elderly Mentally Ill Patients: The Use of Geriatric Depression Scale Compared with Medical and Nursing Observations. Age and Aging. September 1993. V22n5. P349-354.
"Management of Anxiety and Depression in Elderly Persons. American
Family Physician. April 1996. V53n5. P1861-1863.
Pinkowish, Mary Desmond. "Keeping Older Patients Depression Free."
Patient Care. March 30, 1999. V3. P19.
Robinson, Gail K. et al. "Managed Care Policy: Meeting the Mental Health
Needs of the Aged?" Generations. Summer 1998. V22n2. P58-63.
Wilkinson, Phillip. "Cognitive Therapy With Elderly People. Age and
Aging. January 1997. V26n1. P53-59.
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