Depression in Older Men

depressedolderman– Six million men suffer from depression each year. Older men with depression tend to live in an “emotional vacuum” by socially isolating themselves and comforting their depression through the use of alcohol. Older men who have never married and men that have lost their spouses are most vulnerable.

 

– Evidence indicates that testosterone may play a role in male depression, particularly in late-life – a condition referred to as “andropause.” Men with the lowest levels of testosterone are more than three times likely to suffer from depression than those with the highest levels, according to research. A study at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts tested 54 men with symptoms of depression and found that 43 percent of them had low testosterone levels. These men used a testosterone gel for eight weeks and reported a significant improvement in mood, sleep, appetite and libido.

– In general, as men age, they become less emotionally expressive, so older men with depression tend to “tough it out” in silence and are the least interested in seeking help.

– Research is beginning to support the idea of a “male-based depression,” in that men often act out their depression through expressions of anger and abuse of others.

– Depression in older men is often masked by physical illness such as heart disease, stroke or cancer, as well as by prescription medications with depressive side effects such as beta blockers and anti-parkinson’s agents.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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