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Recognizing the Different Faces of Depression

September 6, 2006

The characteristic symptoms of depression vary among different groups of people.  For example, teenagers with depression often complain of boredom while elderly individuals focus more on somatic or physical symptoms.  In some cases, people may suffer silently and even deny they are depressed, resulting in” smiling” or “masked” depression.
According to Laura Dunn, M.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine, depressed elderly also frequently “experience irritability, loss of interest in activities, and social withdrawal, but don’t necessarily feel sad. ”
Being able to effectively recognize the different faces of depression is important because studies have found that early detection and treatment are associated with better outcomes.  “It’s important to remember that depression is a treatable illness,” emphasizes Dr. Dunn.
For more information about depression among the elderly, go to the web site for the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry

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