Depression

Depression is a true and treatable medical condition which comes in slightly different forms and is treatable like diabetes or hypertension.  Rates of depression and other mental health problems are higher than the national average in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.  The average number of days in the past 30 days when mental health was not good is 4 in Kentucky.  To see how your county is doing click here

Depression occurs in children, teens and adults of all ages.  However older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression. If you are concerned about a loved one, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider to be diagnosed and treated.  Staying connected can help.  
 

How Do I Know If It's Depression?  Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment

Find out if your slump is depression by taking this test.

How is Depression Different for Older Adults?

  • Older adults are at increased risk. We know that about 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 50% have two or more. Depression is more common in people who also have other illnesses (such as heart disease or cancer) or whose function becomes limited.
  • Older adults are often misdiagnosed and undertreated. Healthcare providers may mistake an older adult's symptoms of depression as just a natural reaction to illness or the life changes that may occur as we age, and therefore not see the depression as something to be treated. Older adults themselves often share this belief and do not seek help because they don't understand that they could feel better with appropriate treatment.

 

How Many Older Adults Are Depressed? The good news is that the majority of older adults are not depressed. Some estimates of major depression in older people living in the community range from less than 1% to about 5% but rise to 13.5% in those who require home healthcare and to 11.5% in older hospital patients. 

How Do I Find Help?  Most people see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.  Find resources here.
If you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.

  • Call 911
  • Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider's office
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor

***The information provided on the KCHC website is provided as an informational resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

***Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The KCHC expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, or injury whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information received from the KCHC website. KCHC does not endorse specifically any information item, test, treatment, or procedure mentioned in the KCHC website.