Authors : Hemang M Shah, Chintan K Solanki, Prakash I Mehta
DOI : 10.18231/j.tjp.2019.009
Volume : 5
Issue : 1
Year : 2019
Page No : 43-47
Introduction: Major depressive disorder is widely prevalent in the general population and depression in geriatric patients is quite common. Increasing geriatric population in the country coupled with lack of awareness of depression and therefore lack of adequate care may lead to the suffering of the elderly people. We attempted to study depression in geriatric patients and the associated risk factors.
Aims: Our aim was to study characteristics and associated risk factors of depression in geriatric patients attending the psychiatry outpatient department (OPD) for the first time.
Materials and Methods: A total of 100 geriatric patients aged above 60 years, attending psychiatric OPD for the first time were enrolled in the study. Informed consent of patients who agreed to participate in the study was taken and socio-demographic data collected. A 30 item Geriatric depression scale was used to assess the severity of depression. Cognitive functions were screened by using the Mini-mental status examination (MMSE) in those suspected of neuro-cognitive problems. We excluded patients having psychotic and substance use disorders and having cognitive impairment interfering with giving information.
Results: Headache and sleep disturbances were the most common presenting symptoms in geriatric patients with depression. The two non-modifiable risk factors found to be significantly associated with depression in the geriatric population were older age group and female gender. However, the potentially modifiable risk factors for depression in the geriatric population were low socioeconomic status, loss of a spouse, living alone, chronic co-morbidities, cognitive impairment, bereavement and restricted activities of daily living (ADL).
Conclusion: Geriatric patients attending psychiatry OPD primarily for their somatic symptoms should be evaluated for depression, as a high prevalence rate of depression was found among them. Better awareness regarding depression will help for early identification and treatment.
Keywords: Geriatric depression, Risk factors, Somatic symptoms.