Elderly care help: causes of depression

May, 2013

Yesterday we published an article entitled Depression in the elderly: information to recognise the signs and in that post we touched on the point that depression is not only brought on by life’s challenges and circumstance; there are also other causes to depression within the elderly community.

If you are providing elderly care help, including medical care for the elderly, then you should be aware that the side effects of some prescription medications on the market can cause depression. The risk increases if they are taking multiple medications.

Medications that can cause or worsen depression include:

  • Blood pressure medication (clonidine)

  • Beta-blockers (e.g. Lopressor, Inderal)

  • Sleeping pills

  • Tranquilisers (e.g. Valium, Xanax, Halcion)

  • Calcium-channel blockers

  • Medication for Parkinson’s disease

  • Ulcer medication (e.g. Zantac, Tagamet)

  • Heart drugs containing reserpine

  • Steroids (e.g. cortisone and prednisone)

  • High-cholesterol drugs (e.g. Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor)

  • Painkillers and arthritis drugs

  • Estrogens (e.g. Premarin, Prempro)

Those providing medical and long term care for elderly friends or relatives should also be aware there are a number of medical problems that can cause depression, either directly or as a psychological reaction to the illness. Any chronic medical condition, particularly if it is painful, disabling, or life-threatening, can lead to depression or make depression symptoms worse.

These include:

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • stroke

  • heart disease

  • cancer

  • diabetes

  • thyroid disorders

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

  • lupus

  • multiple sclerosis

If you would like more information on depression in the elderly on behalf of a friend or relative we advise you contact their local GP for a personalised assessment.

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