For those who’ve never experienced depression, it’s easy to have the misconception that it’s a short-term condition, related to a traumatic life event. However, the senior care experts at Nightingale Homecare in Phoenix are striving to help families understand that there’s a more long-term depressive condition, known as persistent depressive disorder, which can be very challenging to grasp, especially when it appears the person suffering has nothing to be sad about.
As with all mental illness, there’s a certain stigma that can surround a depression diagnosis. Many people believe that by middle age, depression shouldn’t be an issue. We are supposed to have dealt with our own failings, and those of the world by that time. Then there’s another common perception that depression is a normal part of aging or that depression sufferers somehow choose to stay depressed. As a result, those who suffer with depression often do so in silence, nodding at comments by others who tell them, “Pull yourself together,” or, “Snap out of it!”
Because persistent depression is such a prevalent chronic disease, it is important to understand it and recognize it, not only in ourselves, but in our loved ones.
Episodic depression usually last anywhere from 2 weeks to 20 weeks. For those suffering from a major depressive disorder (MDD) or persistent depressive disorder, symptoms can last for years. And the differences between episodes and persistent depression are more than just duration. Persistent depression causes more functional impairment, suicidal risk and mood disorders, and an increase in relapse when treatment is discontinued. Treatment must be more intensive for those with persistent depression and involve a combination of psychotherapy (to include cognitive behavioral therapy) and medications.
Regardless of the type of depression you or your loved one suffers from, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and what to do if you recognize symptoms in a loved one.
Symptoms of Depression that Require Physician or Psychiatrist Involvement:
- Sad or empty mood most of the time
- Decreased interest in food
- Ignoring personal care and poor hygiene – staying in pajamas all day, or wearing clothes to bed
- Difficulty getting out of bed, loss of motivation
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleep disturbance and insomnia
- Decreased ability to have fun or experience pleasure
- Increased feelings of irritability and anger
- Decreased interest in performing daily activities and chores
- Not taking medications regularly or keeping physician appointments
- Increased anxiety
- Decreased ability to concentrate or remember – making poor decisions
- Excessive crying
- Excessive worry
Dangerous Symptoms of Depression that Require Immediate Medical Attention:
- Overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or despair
- Complete isolation – unwilling to answer the phone or door for anyone
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless and a burden to others
- Unable to get out of bed
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs to self-medicate or “numb” the pain
- No longer eating
- Cannot sleep
- Unwilling to take medications or keep physician appointments
If you or a loved one is living with persistent depressive disorder, reach out to Nightingale Homecare in Phoenix to discuss your specific needs for home care and monitoring of the disease. Our team of caring professionals has developed a unique program called Pathlink, designed to empower our patients to control and manage their chronic disease. Working with physicians to closely manage depression, while helping patients understand that treatment works best when patients participate in their own treatment goals, is the primary focus of the Pathlink Depression Management program. The result is improved treatment outcomes!
Nightingale Homecare is tailored to the needs of each individual situation. Contact us any time at 602-504-1555, or complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help. If getting trusted senior care at home and maintaining independence is critical to your long-term care plan, Nightingale Homecare in Phoenix can help.