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Causes of Depression in Old People; Elderly Depression

Abstract: What are the causes of depression in the elderly? Why is depression more common for old people?

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Causes of Depression in Old People; Elderly Depression

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Question(s): 
Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 12 Jan 2009.

What are the causes of depression in the elderly? Why is depression more common for old people?

Answer:

Rates of new cases of depression increase with the age of the population. There are several plausible reasons for this. Social, psychological and biological risk factors for depression co-exist in the elderly. Physical illness is more common in older people and some diseases such as strokes frequently cause depression. Old age is also a time of change and particularly of loss - of status and position in society, wealth, opportunity, friends and companions. Also we see in these ages poor self-esteem and lack of capacity for intimacy more often than in other ages.
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