What kinds of medication are patients with geriatric depression typically prescribed? What sorts of environments/activities do doctors recommend for them? How do these differ from those suggested by medical professionals for adolescent depression?
top of page
Sign up/log in at the top right corner of the website to contribute to the forum
"Create new post" to start a new discussion on the monthly forum topic
"Comment" on others' posts to respond or ask follow-up questions
"Like" others' posts or comments to indicate agreement or support
Give credit to any sources you’ve used
Don’t use profanity or words that may harm others
bottom of page
@Elaine Z There are certain SSRI's that can be prescribed, but some other medications that are given are called tricyclic antidepressants. These include desipramine and notriptyline. This type of antidepressant increases the amount of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin while simultaneously blocking a different neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.
Recently discussion surrounding hospice care and EOL (end-of-life) care is becoming increasingly popular in the medical community. Basically, hospice care is provided to a patient and the patient's family members by a team of health care professionals who offer medical, psychological, and spiritual support. The ultimate goal of this kind of care is to ensure the patient's maximum satisfaction with life and give them dignity and comfort before their death. Often times elderly people with chronic conditions like cancer will have to go through multiple rounds of surgery and therapy, and these long periods of hospitalization can factor into their depression. By offering them a choice in terms of how they want to maximize their remaining time, promoting hospice care may be a way to deal with such widespread geriatric depression.
In treating elders with depression, who often may suffer from other medical conditions, it is important for doctors to also take those other factors into account when prescribing medicine. Elders are often more sensitive to drugs than youth, and in fact, use of SSRIs have been shown to lead to bone loss. Therefore, elderly patients taking these medications must be carefully monitored for potential negative side effects. In terms of activities, doctors may also often recommend pet therapy, art therapy, as well as more social interaction.
Similar to adolescent depression, doctors will often prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat geriatric depression. These drugs include Prozac and Lexapro, which work by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain. However, as many patients with geriatric depression are out of work and away from others, doctors will often recommend trying new hobbies and meeting up with family more often. Sadly, geriatric depression is often caused by long-term isolation- if you've ever seen the movie "Up", Carl Fredrickson is a perfect example of elderly depression following the death of his wife Ellie.