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Recognizing Anxiety and Depression in Older Adults


Here's a message for seniors who are feeling blue: depression and anxiety are not a normal part of growing older, and it's not something to keep quiet about or deal with on your own. It's a serious illness that can often be successfully treated.


Recognizing when you or a loved one might be depressed and seeking treatment are crucial and potentially even lifesaving steps. "Depression and anxiety can have a major effect on an older person's life," says Adil Mohammed, MD, board-certified psychiatrist at the Leesburg Regional Medical Center Senior Behavioral Health Center. "It can affect eating habits, cause sleepless nights, and drain your energy. You can easily get stuck in it."


Depression and anxiety can make it difficult to manage other serious illnesses such as heart disease and puts seniors at a higher risk for suicide. There is no single cause, but factors such as a personal or family history of depression may increase an older person's risk for the problem.
Symptoms last for two or more weeks and typically involve profound sadness and lack of interest in usual activities. "When you're depressed, the things you normally do that make yourself happy just don't work anymore," continues Dr. Mohammed. If you notice any of the following signs, see your healthcare provider for an evaluation. If you suspect them in a loved one, you may want to gently suggest he or she discuss them with a doctor.

  • Feeling fatigued or sluggish 
  • Unexplained changes in weight or loss of appetite 
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, hopelessness or guilt 
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions 
  • Chronic aches or pains 
  • Feeling nervous, restless or irritable 
  • Crying 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Seeking help for depression and anxiety isn't a sign of weakness. And, despite what some may suggest, depressed people can't simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available and the Leesburg Regional Medical Center Senior Behavioral Health Center is committed to offering comprehensive therapy that understands the uniqueness of aging. The Leesburg Regional Medical Center Senior Behavioral Health Center offers inpatient treatment for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, aggression, and combativeness. Patients receive individual, group, family therapy and activity therapy according to their individual needs.


Be sure to consult a doctor to help you decide on the treatment plan that will be best for you. The LRMC Senior Behavioral Health Center can be reached at (352) 323-3270.

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