Aging Well with Dr. Dan Blazer, Part 4: Geriatric Depression @TheHighCalling

Aging Well

Depression causes more disability than any other psychiatric disorder,” Laity Leadership Institute senior fellow Dan Blazer, M.D. said his 2005 book The Age of Melancholy: Major Depression and Its Social Origins.  In fact, depression is as disabling or more disabling than diabetes and hypertension, he said, and the World Health Organization estimated that it will be the second leading contributor to the “global burden of disease” by 2025.

Although those born in the later part of the 20th century suffer higher rates of depression than those born earlier, roughly 15 percent of the elderly experience significant symptoms.

A Crossword Puzzle Case Study

When The High Calling interviewed Dr. Blazer last fall, he talked about a patient who is close to 90 years old. The man had called Blazer a few weeks earlier to say he was feeling “terrible,” that he wasn’t sleeping and was losing weight, all of which are symptoms of depression.

The patient also said, “I’m not doing my crossword puzzles.”

“He had been doing crossword puzzles for 80 years,” said Blazer. “All of a sudden he wasn’t doing them. That signals loss of interest, which is another symptom of depression.”

Blazer prescribed medication. When he talked to the patient a few weeks later, he said he was feeling much better.

Blazer asked, “Are you doing your crossword puzzles yet?”

“No,” he replied.

The doctor knew then that the man wasn’t well yet …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: