Table of Contents
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental disorder that affects people of any age. While occasional feelings of sadness and despair are natural, lasting feelings are not a normal part of getting older. Depression is also known as clinical depression and major depressive disorder. It is a mental illness that affects the way that you think and feel.
There are several different types of depression. Older adults often suffer from subsyndromal depression. This form of depression is a less severe form, but if untreated can lead to major depression. 
Depression is a common condition in older adults and is thought to affect approximately six million Americans over the age of 65. However, only around 10 percent of these people receive treatment.  Depression is a medical condition and there is no shame in seeking treatment. Antidepressant medications such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), and Wellbutrin XL (bupropion) can be prescribed to treat the condition.
Depression can affect older adults differently than younger people. Often, the condition lasts for a longer period of time and may also occur alongside other mental illnesses. 
Keep reading to learn more about depression in older adults, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments available.
Are Depression Symptoms Different in Older Adults?
a. Depression Symptoms
Depression can cause symptoms that affect both your mind and body. The range of symptoms will depend on how mild or severe your condition is. Some or all of these symptoms must occur almost every day for two weeks or longer in order for depression to be diagnosed.  Common depression symptoms include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or empty
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Feelings of anxiety, pessimism or irritation
- Finding it difficult to concentrate or make decisions
- Changes in weight or digestion problems
- Aches, pains, headaches and cramps
- Suicidal thoughts or actions