Depression is Not a Normal Part of Aging
Depression can occur in persons already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Dementia and depression can cause increased intellectual decline. Depression is a treatable illness. If the depression responds to treatment, the person with dementia will have a better quality of life and will be better able to cope with losses caused by dementia. The diagnosis of depression needs to be made by a medical doctor, advanced practice nurse, or a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
Using mnemonic devices was the way I got through medical school. The mnemonic which I use to remember the symptoms of depression is SIG E CAP. Just think of someone by that name. Here’s how it works.
S sleep changes, sad, suicidal, self-esteem changes, restless
I loss of interest, ignoring responsibilities, irritable
G increased guilt (real or imagined)
E decreased energy, feeling empty
C crying, concentration changes
A appetite & appearance changes, aches, anxiety, agitation
P decreased pleasure, hopeless, helpless
Interestingly, many of the symptoms of depression and dementia are overlapping. Always consider depressive symptoms first. Then dementia. In private practice, I treated a middle-aged female who periodically became depressed. But she would never feel depressed. At the peak of her depression, she appeared to be severely demented and confused. With antidepressant treatment, her dementia-like symptoms totally disappeared. It was almost magical to see the pseudo-dementia disappear. If the dementia-like symptoms don’t disappear with antidepressant treatment, then dementia is more likely the diagnosis. However, an individual can be demented and depressed at the same time. Their dementia can actually improve if one looks for depression and adequately treats it. Many physicians and caregivers are quick to attribute dementia as the culprit.
A new fact I learned today. There is a free service called 411 Service. Simply dial 800-373-3411 (800-FREE-411). You’ll get free directory assistance from your cell or land line. The catch is, however, that you do have to listen to a short (only 20 seconds) ad before you can ask your question, but really, that’s a small price to pay for a free service. I haven’t tried it het, but will be curious as to what people think of it.
And a new vocabulary word today. Codicil [kod-uh-suh]
a supplement to a will, containing an addition, explanation, modification, etc., of something in the will.
any supplement; appendix
Filed under: Caregivers for Individuals with Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia | Tagged: 411 Service, Aging, Caregivers for Individuals with Dementia, Codicil, Dementia, Depression, Lewy Body Dementia, Medical school, Mnemonic, Mnemonic devices, Mood, SIG E CAP depression, Symptoms of depression | 5 Comments »