Melancholic Depression – A Major Depressive Disorder That Can Affect Seniors



Melancholic depression is a disorder that makes life seem meaningless and pointless. Seniors are especially vulnerable to Melancholic depression because of the other issues they’re dealing with as they age such as downturn of health, lifestyle changes and profound sense of loss.

Severity of melancholic depression varies, but medical researchers consider it one of the worst forms of depression because of its difficulty to treat. Those who suffer from this type of depression have the same symptoms that are often reported by those with bipolar disorder.

What Are the Symptoms of Melancholic Depression?

Understanding the difference between moods and emotions are key to understanding melancholic depression. Moods tend to last a while – days, hours, months and even years when depression is present.

A mood can change how a person behaves and eventually how others react to him – changing the person’s overall personality. Some of the symptoms of melancholic depression are the same as other depression disorders, but the severity and how long they last can determine the diagnosis.

Emotions change as fast as a person’s thoughts change and the experiences they go through. Seniors may have highly fluctuating moods and emotions, but when experience together, the following symptoms could be serious:

  • Agitation – Pacing, picking at the hair or face are signs of agitation that usually last a short while. For a person with melancholic depression, this symptom can be on-going.
  • Poor Concentration – Inability to focus on work, daily activities and other things necessary to move through the day and be productive can be a sign that the senior is slipping into depression.
  • Appetite Changes – Seniors typically gain weight when depressed because of inactivity and eating too many starches and sugars. Not eating a balanced diet can affect a person’s overall health and feelings of well-being.
  • Sleeping Too Much (Hypersomnia) – This symptom leads to depression and difficulty in getting through the day – a sure sign that the older adult is having feelings of hopelessness.
  • Lack of Empathy or Numbness – A senior’s inability to experience pleasure or to empathize with others is also an indication that melancholic depression might be the culprit.
  • Extreme Fatigue – Lack of energy that leads to facing the most simple of tasks such as showering or dressing can cause a senior to become depressed and feel worthless.

Treatment should be considered with care. Sometimes physicians will try a combination of anti-depressants such as fluoxetines (Prozac) and Venlafaxine (Effexor). Talk therapy has also been found to be effective in melancholic depression. Be sure to explore every option.


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