Popular Media Myth. By: Milani Pickering. Older and Sadder. The assumption that elderly people are more Depressed Forgetful Lonely Cantankerous. What is Depression.
Popular Media Myth
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“The degrees of suffering and disability associated with depression are comparable to those in most chronic medical conditions. Fortunately, early identification and proper treatment significantly decrease the negative impact of depression in most patients” (physicians).
is a common psychiatric disorder in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.
Many TV shows, movies and talk shows create the image that older people are mean and depressed
The Proud Family (cartoon of a depressed old cranky lady)
The Notebook (The main woman in the movie develops Alzheimer and doesn’t remember anything, becomes depressed)
The Christmas Carole (Old man that hates Christmas and lives alone, not wanting to socialize and depressed about life)
Societies ideology and language of elders
“50 years old top of the hill, +50 toppling down hill”
There could be many reasons that people could have this ideology
Since a number of elders loose their loved ones, they are alone, but not necessarily lonely, though others could see differently
Some people might see loneliness as sadness
the media puts elders in the role of the helpless and sad
Society places elder people in the fragile state
Some medicine taken by the elderly could cause them to become sad
Most people “have been experiencing episodes of the illness during most of their lives”
there seems to be more depressed elder people because they go untreated for reasons that people mistake depression symptoms for dementia symptoms
People see that the population of depress elderly is higher because some people don’t treat them for their depression
That is the programed response to stereotype elders as, forgetful
“When I was young I was called a rugged individualist. When I was in my fifties I was considered eccentric. Here I am doing and saying the same things I did then and I'm labeled senile.” --- George Burns
Why Is It a Myth
The older you are doesn’t mean the more depressed you get
“Population surveys states that the highest level of depression is the people between 25-45” (Scientific America)
Elders just get the blame because they have other medical problems that classify them as being depressed when the true fact is they are not
Studies have shown that healthy elders are mostly not depressed
“the oldest group scored highest only on lack of well-being. Somatic symptoms of depression were not elevated. Young adults scored highest on depressed mood. Adults who are now old were not generally characterized by elevated self-reports of depressive symptoms; however, on items asking whether the respondent has a hopeful outlook” (PsycNet).
Depression can be spurred by a tragic event, no matter what age
“In one study of 28,000 Americans, a third of 88-year-olds reported being “very happy,” and the happiest individuals surveyed were the oldest” (Scientific America)
Most of the time the elderly isn’t depressed on their own, it is either by their medication or some medical illness such as a stroke, that causes them to seem “out of it”
Not only adults and elderly people have depression
Studies have shown that 81% of children tested positive of anxiety and depressive symptoms
Children now a days in this society experience so much pressure from their parents and friends that it is hard not to have high anxiety and some depressed feelings
in some instances it is even more prominent for children to seem depressed, if they are raise by an authoritarian child-rearing style
Giving them high expectations, no room for error and no time to socialize with others
Relativity to Human Growth and Development
The reason why elders are seen as forgetful or depressed is some times because of medical problems
Dementia: where they start to lose their memory because, “Results of a study of 5 patients with presumed sporadic Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type show that neurons of the nucleus basalis of Meynert underwent a profound and selective degeneration in these patients and provided a pathological substrate of the cholinergic deficiency in their brains” (PsycNet).
children have an active pruning process and synapses connection that allows them to collect new information and stimulate the child’s brain, while elders synapse are weakly connecting.
Like the study they did on infants the PET and fMRI, they also did on the elderly
By looking at their brain-wave patterns they found that older adult have experienced the lose of white brain matter, hindering the function of connecting synapes
Gatz, Margaret; Hurwicz, “Are old people more depressed? Cross-sectional data on Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale factors.”, Margo-Lea Psychology and Aging, Vol 5(2), Jun 1990, 10 Oct. 2012. 284-290.
Klein, Daniel. “Age of onset in chronic major depression: relation to demographic and clinical variables, family history, and treatment response.” SciVerse. Oct. 1999. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032799000208>.
Lilien, Scott. “Busting Big Myths in Popular Psychology [Preview] .” Scientific America. 25 Feb. 2012. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=busting-big-myths&page=5>.
Peter J. “Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia: Loss of neurons in the basal forebrain.” et al Science, Vol 215(4537), Mar 1982, 1237-1239.
“Screening for Depression Across the Lifespan: A Review of Measures for Use in Primary Care Settings.” American Family Physician. 15 Sept. 2002. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0915/p1001.html