Geriatric Psychiatrist Questions Depression

My elderly mother has depression. What can be done for her?

My 79 year old mother has depression, and we think it is due to all of the medication she is taking. We are afraid to give her more medication. Can anything else be done for her to help with her depression?

4 Answers

A careful medical evaluation to identify potentially undiagnosed medical conditions, as well as the possible negative mood effects of current combination of medications would be the first prudent step. Older individuals respond as well to depression treatment, if not better, than adults with depression. There are many antidepressants as well as other treatments that could be helpful. In terms of behavioral approaches, regular exercise, regular sleep schedule, avoidance of alcohol, socialization, etc. are very important. Involvement of a geriatrically trained internist or psychiatrist would be helpful.
Did she have previous episodes of depression? Is there a family history of depression among blood relatives? Has she received any antidepressants and/ or psychotherapy in the past?
She needs to be assessed by a psychiatrist who could look at all of her current medications and determine if any are likely to have a side effect of depression and if so, what are safe alternatives and which could be stopped without any substitution being needed
You are correct that medications can sometimes cause depression. But there are multiple other possible causes. I would recommend having her evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist, can more accurately pinpoint the nature and cause(s) of her depression and recommend appropriate interventions.