In this category we need to make an important distinction between having symptoms consistent with either Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Spectrum Disorder. The word “spectrum” denotes the different possibilities of symptoms and clinical presentations; both disorders can also share many symptoms that make them difficult to differentiate, diagnose, and choose the appropriate treatment.
We need to keep in mind that after age 50, our body goes through changes and we are prone to have other medical conditions that could manifest with mood symptoms. There is the possibility that medications we consistently take for chronic medical conditions have psychiatric side effects and it is important to establish this option to take proper action.
It can be difficult to establish the appropriate diagnosis as these conditions tend to have atypical presentations in the senior population. We should not forget that a mood disorder can place senior patients at risk for developing medical problems.
The impact of psychiatric symptoms on the brain’s biology after age 60 can become a serious concern. This is why early detection and intervention will assure better outcomes and improve quality of life.