Are you outgoing? Friendly? Should you become depressed as you age, the odds are no-one will notice. This fact is more critical, because as found by Drs. Lyness and Duberstein, if one has neurotic tendencies when faced with increased medical burdens, one is more likely to experience greater depression. We already know that our mental attitude affects our ability to withstand disease, so diagnosis and treatment of depression becomes important.
Depression among seniors has different manifestations, than when one is younger. Younger dejected patients manifest expressions of sadness routinely; these tendencies are depressed among seniors. When friends and family can identify depression, treatment can be provided sooner- and more effectively. This becomes more of an issue with older people, where we have developed our expectations of their fun-loving ways over the years. Older patients tend to discuss their health concerns with friends and family, and the troupe normally accompanies them during physician appointments. Physicians rely on those accompanyists to help identify the at-risk patients. These results were published by Dr. Duberstein et. al. of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Originally, the research was focused upon patients that were introverted (the study involved 191 subjects, aged 60 or over); those were the ones they expected to have had missed diagnoses. However, they found the opposite: patients that were characterized as agreeable, trusting, altruistic, or conformist were the ones where the diagnosis was usually missed.