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Depression in Older Adults Expository Essay


Abstract

This paper examines depression amongst the old adult population in the world with specific references to the United States of America. It gives a background on what depression is and discusses situation under which it develops in older adult population.

Besides, it examines depression in older adult population in relation to such factors as gender where females are found to be more prone to depression than their male counterparts, it also considers sexual orientations in which it discusses how lesbians and gays are more likely to have stress than heterosexuals and it finally compares how race and culture play a role in depression amongst the elderly in society.

With respect to homosexuality, the paper examines the various ways through which older adult population get discriminated by the members of the society who are anti-homosexuality and institutions that do not recognize both lesbianism and gay as a form of lifestyle that should be accepted as in existence.

Introduction

Depression is a condition that mostly affects the cognition of a human being. It means different thing to different people; it can be symptomatic as when an individual says he or she is feeling depressed, it also be a sign as when someone observes that another person is depressed or at the same time it can be a disorder that is clinically diagnosed.

When a clinical diagnosis of depression is done, it implies a disorder which has a significant length of time and having particularly observable signs and symptoms, that significantly interferes with an individual’s functioning or that causes great personal distress or both (Jefferson 10).

But one may ask “What are the causes of depression?” depression has varied causes amongst the whole of the human race regardless of age or gender. It is almost always caused by a combination of factors. Such factors are inheritance or genetic predisposition, developmental factors such as early loss of parents, cognitive factors such as intense grief reaction and stress such as coping with unemployment and or physical illnesses; these two combine to result into a common pathway for inducement of depression.

Research has indicated that each individual has a pattern of genetic, developmental, environmental, social, personality and physiological factors that coalesce to permit or protect against depression at any point in time.

The understanding and modification of the contributions of these factors is the ultimate goal of the clinicians who engage in the treatment of depression. This paper examines depressions in older adults. It will deal with how depression occurs in older adult population; besides, it will also discuss the main causes of depression in older adulthood and how it affects them (Jefferson 10).

Depression in Older Adults

Depression is the most common mental disorder found amongst older adults in the parts of the world, but it should not be seen as part of the aging process; in fact a good number of older adults . It is one of the most disabling conditions among the older adult population. In the United States alone it is approximated that over six million adults aged 65 and above experience clinical depression; the adult population represents about 15% of the adult population above 65 years of age in the United States.

Prevalence estimates in older adults range from 5% in community samples to about 20% in nursing home residents and close to 30% of the older adults witnessed in primary care setting. Research has also indicated that approximately 50% of the adults who are admitted in hospitals experience clinical depression (Williams 59).

It is important to note that depression in older adults is caused by varied numerous factors and may be different from the causative factors leading to depression in the younger people. In addition to the biological etiology of depression in the older adults, there are vividly cognitively contributing factors.

The adult’s life events and the interpretation and response to event contribute to the risk of developing depression. The predominant life events that place older adults at risks for depression as well as contribute to the experience by older adults and receptiveness to treatment for depression are medical illnesses, bereavement or death of a son, daughter or any other significant other, disability, impaired social support and or trauma.

These factors do not necessarily exclusively lead to depression, but may combine with other factors in a chain of events ultimately leading to depression in older adults. Research findings have indicated that the risk factors combined with behavioral, psychodynamic and negative thoughts surrounding the events of life seem to have substantial contribution to depression that comes in late life periods.

For example, older adults may have an perception about their lives that no matter what they attempt to achieve, negative things continue to happen and perpetually continue to experience losses in their lives hence they assume a hopelessness position. It has also been found out through research that older adults may not easily adapt to the physical changes they are experiencing as a result of aging and hence may have some unrealistic expectation and have a feeling or perception of that they are likely to continue in failure as an adult.

Majority of older adults fall into one or more at-risk groups for depression. Nonetheless, many are not aware of their symptoms of depression and hence do not make a request or seek evaluation. Besides, research indicates that many older adults have resistance towards seeking medical attention due to stigma labeled against mental illnesses.

According to several research activities that have been conducted, it has been found that black older adults are more likely to suffer depression as compared to their white counterparts (Bernal 403). Besides, other research also indicate that races with the majority of low income earners like blacks, Hispanics are more vulnerable to issues of depression than the white counterparts.

Given racial and ethnic discriminations, it is important to state that races that are subject or victims of racial discrimination are more likely to suffer depression; the older elders may resign into perception where they feel inferior to the perceived superior whites and hence cause them hopelessness and depression, especially when they see their loved ones or fellow race members being discriminated against.

Taking the case for Western and other developed nations where slavery was practiced, it is crucial recognize that those who come from races that experienced slavery are highly likely to experience depression than those within former slave masters.

Some of the depression symptoms appearing some adults may be traces of depression during childhood with which the adult might have lived to his or her old age; this is coupled by inferiority complex. Meanwhile, ethnicity has also been found to have effects on depression amongst the older adult population (Bernal 327).

Gender also plays a significant role in depression. There are a number of research that have been done on how gender influence experience of depression. The research findings have been compiled from data collected in most countries of the world. According to the findings, women have higher chances of experiencing depression than men.

Even though it is not clear what really accounts for this, but researchers acknowledge the contribution of several factors which entails impact of estrogen on stress hormones, the common victimization of women through rape and domestic violence and cortisol (Fredén 163).

Other research findings reveal that both men and women share depression to a certain proportion; however, what also contributes to the difference is the fact that both men and women express their depression in gender specific ways. According to available literature, men are known to mask their depression through various forms like excessive drinking. This implies that the differentiation of the rate of depression between men and women is just done by way of illusion (Fredén 167).

Many studies have been conducted within cultures and also cross-culture with the aim of identifying symptoms of depression in both men and women. It is argued that women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed of major depression.

Even though this difference is great, it is because older women are mostly likely to seek professional assistance as compared to their men counterparts; the implication here is that even though men may suffer equal measure of depression as women, they are less likely to seek the services of a profession to help them handle their depression.

Culturally, in some regions of the world, men are encultured not to express their sadness, stress or depression in public; in fact, men who do so are mostly likely to be considered as having feminine behavior, so they choose to endure depression within them. On the side, women share their grief with friends and expose publicly their depression; this makes it easy to notice. Moreover, men who suffer from depression are associated with mental illness and as has been discussed earlier, feminine (Fredén 167).

Other research has also attempted to link the rate of depression with sexual orientation. Even though older adults are highly likely to have low sexual performance, their sexual orientation has been found to play a significant role in contributing to their depression statuses. Research indicates that lesbians are more depressed than their heterosexual counterparts.

Moreover, even though much study have not been done, older adult population is very common with lesbians. In fact, this may be accounted for by the fact that it cannot be expected that when gays and lesbians get old, they should switch their sexual orientation to heterosexuals.

There are a number of older lesbians and gays and this part of the aging population suffer a lot of stigma from anti-lesbians and anti-gays. It is therefore not unusual to here of depressed and isolated older adults in the society. Due to stigma associated with lesbianism and gay sexual orientation, many of the lesbian and gay older adults suffer depression as not so many people want to identify with them (Melillo, et al 10).

Since the older adults are almost entirely dependent on others for livelihood and medical care, the lesbians and gays suffer from lack of concern, especially from the healthcare departments as they do not recognize the existence of lesbians and they are unresponsive to the fact that being lesbian and gay is also a form of lifestyle that should not be used as a point of individual discrimination.

Due to this, old adults who are heterosexuals are the ones who have greatly benefited from healthcare plans in most countries, particularly in the United States of America. The implication of this is that the lesbians and gays are left out in terms of medical care plans and hence are subjected to depression as they ponder about their heath and how to get medical services (Melillo, et al 10).

One fact is than most lesbian and gay partners live together, but when it comes to old age, one partner is not legally allowed to participate in healthcare decisions of another partner and this even include being barred from funeral arrangement in cases of death of one of the partner. This also subjects them to depression which may aggravate due to poor adjustment to aging situations.

Again gays and lesbians are greatly concerned about their housing; they always wish to live in communities that dominated by homosexuals or at least a community in which people recognize existence and the needs of lesbians and gays. The problem is that these groups of people tend be isolated and may further be far removed from children and the young people who are feared by the society may get influenced by these lesbians and gays.

Contrarily, heterosexual older adults are not likely to suffer any depression arising from any of these factors. Instead, they are well recognized by the society and may not suffer much depression as their homosexual counterparts.

The fact that is that homosexuality is the universally accepted sexual orientation in the world and hence forms a larger society than the lesbian and gay community. The heterosexuals are mostly likely to get consolations from groups like Christians groups which make them cope easily with depression (Melillo, et al 23).

Conclusion

Depression is a condition that mostly affects the cognition of a human being. It means different thing to different people; it can be symptomatic as when an individual says he or she is feeling depressed, it also be a sign as when someone observes that another person is depressed or at the same time it can be a disorder that is clinically diagnosed.

Research has indicated that each individual has a pattern of genetic, developmental, environmental, social, personality and physiological factors that coalesce to permit or protect against depression at any point in time. Depression is one of the most disabling conditions among the older adult population in the world today. Depression in older adults is caused by varied numerous factors and may be different from the causative factors leading to depression in the younger people.

In addition to the biological etiology of depression in the older adults, there are vividly cognitively contributing factors. Research has found that race plays a significant role depression amongst older adults; black older adults are more likely to suffer depression as compared to their white counterparts.

Given racial and ethnic discriminations, it is important to state that races that are subject or victims of racial discrimination are more likely to suffer depression; the older elders may resign into perception where they feel inferior to the perceived superior whites and hence cause them hopelessness and depression, especially when they see their loved ones or fellow race members being discriminated against.

Gender also plays a significant role in depression. According to the findings, women have higher chances of experiencing depression than men (Fredén 167). Even though it is not clear what really accounts for this, but researchers acknowledge the contribution of several factors which entails impact of estrogen on stress hormones, the common victimization of women through rape and domestic violence and cortisol.

Other research has also attempted to link the rate of depression with sexual orientation. Even though older adults are highly likely to have low sexual performance, their sexual orientation has been found to play a significant role in contributing to their depression statuses.

Research indicates that lesbians are more depressed than their heterosexual counterparts (Melillo, et al 23). Conversely, heterosexual older adults are likely to get assistances from the general members of the society as they do not engage in what the members of the society may describe as anti-social. Due to this, they are less likely to suffer depression as compared to their lesbian and gay counterparts.

Works Cited

Bernal, Guillermo. Handbook of racial and ethnic minority psychology. New York: SAGE, 2003.

Fredén, Lars. Psychosocial aspects of depression: no way out? New York: Wiley, 1982.

Jefferson, James. Depression and its treatment. New York: American Psychiatric Pub, 1992.

Melillo, Karen et al. Geropsychiatric and mental health nursing. New Jersey: ones & Bartlett Learning, 2005.

Williams, Arthur. Depression research in nursing: global perspectives. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2005.

This Expository Essay on Depression in Older Adults was written and submitted by user Emiliano Bryant to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Emiliano Bryant studied at Gonzaga University, USA, with average GPA 3.1 out of 4.0.

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Bryant, E. (2019, November 30). Depression in Older Adults [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-in-older-adults/

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Bryant, Emiliano. "Depression in Older Adults." IvyPanda, 30 Nov. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/depression-in-older-adults/.

1. Emiliano Bryant. "Depression in Older Adults." IvyPanda (blog), November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-in-older-adults/.


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Bryant, Emiliano. "Depression in Older Adults." IvyPanda (blog), November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-in-older-adults/.

References

Bryant, Emiliano. 2019. "Depression in Older Adults." IvyPanda (blog), November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/depression-in-older-adults/.

References

Bryant, E. (2019) 'Depression in Older Adults'. IvyPanda, 30 November.

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