Late-life depression is a growing health concern as Baby Boomers age and exhibit a higher incidence of mental health issues than previous generations. One well-known tool that screens older people for depression is the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), which has proven very effective in identifying people who need help. How much do you know about depression late in life? Take the quiz.
The Geriatric Depression Scale screens older people for depression. Which of these is NOT another depression screening tool?
Marshall Depression Evaluation
The Geriatric Depression Scale, the Zung Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory are all tools used for screening depression. (We made up the Marshall Depression Evaluation.)
Dr. Virginia Apgar developed the Apgar score, a way of rating the health of newborn babies. Dr. Drake Ramoray is a character from the TV show "Friends." Dr. Jerome Yesavage helped develop the Geriatric Depression Scale.
Which of these treatments has come back into vogue after proving effective in treating late-life depression?
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has proven very effective in treating depression in older adults who can't tolerate antidepressants. Lobotomies and ice baths are still decidedly unpopular as treatments for mental illness.
Late-life depression presents differently from depression in other stages of life in that it frequently results in:
Late-life depression can present differently than depression with an earlier onset. Often, executive dysfunction is an issue. Someone with late-life depression may have trouble with response inhibition, for example. Sleeping either too little or too much is a symptom of depression in all age groups, whereas a rash is not considered to be a symptom of depression at all.
Depression is a normal reaction to being hospitalized for an illness.
Depression following hospitalization for an illness shouldn't be considered normal; rather, the person is in need of treatment. It's true that depression is not a natural part of aging, despite a societal tendency to view aging as depressing.
Depression is a medical disorder requiring treatment.
According to one study, more than a third of older adults who committed suicide saw their doctor within what time frame?
a week before their death
Within a week of their death, more than a third of older adults who committed suicide saw their doctor. Almost all the rest saw their doctor in the previous month. This means that screening and intervention are both possible and necessary in older populations.
Cerebrovascular disease may predispose, precipitate or perpetuate depression in older people.
The vascular depression hypothesis is that cerebrovascular disease, also known as CVD, may predispose, precipitate or perpetuate depression in people with certain neurological conditions. The other two answer choices are nonsense.
Depression is caused by abnormalities in heart valves.
Aging causes blood vessels to shrink, thereby affecting how serotonin travels through the brain.
What is a common alternative treatment for depression?
St. John's wort
St. John's wort is a common alternative treatment for depression. However, just because a substance is natural doesn't mean that it isn't harmful; some herbs can react negatively with prescribed medications, for example. Tell your doctor all medicines you're taking, including supplemental vitamins and herbs.