Mental and Emotional Health-Depression in Post Retirement Phase



Depression in post retirement phase is quite a common occurrence. A number of reasons lead to depression among senior citizens. Depression is a mental disorder that is vastly different from common feelings of sadness. It is a chronic illness that can be incapacitating.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in daily life
  • Dysphoric mood (sad, empty feelings)
  • Poor appetite with weight loss (sometimes, increased appetite)
  • Diurnal mood variations (worse in the morning)
  • Insomnia and early waking
  • Psychomotor retardation or psychomotor agitation
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Continuous aches, cramps, pains, or digestive problems
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or self-reproach
  • Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide, or even suicide attempts


Depression can occur with other illnesses like:

  • Stroke, heart ailments, cancer, Parkinson's disease, HIV or diabetes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or social phobia
  • Alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse

Types of Depression

  • Mild, moderate or severe
  • With or without biological features
  • With or without delusions or hallucinations
  • With or without manic episodes

Causes of Depression

The most common causes of depression are:

  • Genetic Predisposition: There may be a family history of depression
  • Biochemical: Excess 5-hydroxytrptamine receptor in the brain
  • Stressful events: Loss of job, illness, divorce
  • Vulnerability factors: Pain, physical illness or lack of intimate relationship
  • Pessimism: Low self-esteem and negative outlook towards life

Treatment for Depression:


Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the most preferred treatment for mild or moderate types of depression. The two main types of psychotherapy are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

CBT helps us understand the root causes of the problem and work towards changing our negative approach to how we think.

IPT helps us work out the problems we are encountering in our personal relationships.


Medications help to improve the neurotransmitters balance in the brain. Anti-depressant medications may be:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO)
  • Tricyclics

However, medications can result in side effects too. The possible side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Constipation
  • Sexual problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Bladder problems

To read more on depressions and ways to counter depression in you may refer to the depression segment of "HelpGuide.Org" and