Depression, anxiety not inevitable for the elderly

Story by Maggie Fazeli Fard
(The Washington Post)
Thu, Dec 6, 2012
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Millions of elderly men and women suffer from depression and anxiety, not surprising given the health issues, anxiety about the future and bereavement that often accompany aging.

But a new book by geriatric psychiatrists Mark D. Miller and Charles F. Reynolds III, “Depression and Anxiety in Later Life: What Everyone Needs to Know” (John Hopkins Press), argues that mental disorders are not a natural or inevitable part of getting older, no matter how common they may seem.

The book delves into the causes, symptoms and treatments of mental illness.

According to Miller and Reynolds, the characteristics traditionally associated with “grumpy old men” - irritability, disorganization and social withdrawal -- may actually be symptoms of depression caused by such issues as memory loss, physical pain, difficulty sleeping and eating, and end-of-life anxiety.

The book aims to help older people, their family members and caregivers identify the symptoms and make positive lifestyle changes to make the so-called “golden years” a little less gray.

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