For ageing people, ill health among reasons for depression, says study

For ageing people, ill health among reasons for depression, says study

Depression is most prevalent among those between the ages of 40 and 60 and ill health could be among the primary reasons for this, explain city doctors.

The figures are based on the National Mental Health Survey that was conducted by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans). Besides environmental and social issues, biological changes are among the primary reasons, according to researchers involved in the study.

Depression commonly occurs with other illnesses such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, alcoholism, anti-social personality, schizophrenia and eating disorders. This is most common among those between 41 and 59 years of age, according to the National Health Mission (NHM).

For those above the age of 59, depression commonly strikes mostly due to health conditions. According to NHM, 71.43% of those above 59 have depression due to health conditions.

Dr B N Gangadhar, director, Nimhans said depression worsens with ageing and that there are several reasons that have been put forward with this.

“In old age, neuro transmitter mechanisms are shrinking. hormones such as testosterone that preserves mood states shrink. Oxytocin could also be shrinking. Besides this, a person goes through so many physical illness such and has chronic diseases. There are several social changes. Children get married and leave. Some are also unable to cope with the societal changes,” he added.

A senior psychiatrist from the city also pointed out that several drugs that the elderly are prescribed could lead to depression. Meanwhile, Dr Jagadish A, consultant psychiatrist, Abhaya Hospital said, “Those with cancer, arthritis, alcohol addiction or chronic lung diseases could be highly prone to depression. It could be due to the drugs at times. Depression is prevalent among those with non-communicable diseases.”

He added that while in a few cases, there could be a trigger for depression, in others, there could be no reason that leads to that state of mind. Dr Jagadish said it was important to let a person express emotions.

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