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Alternative Ways Antidepressants Can Benefit the Elderly

Antidepressants can be used for more than just helping seniors manage their depression. Researchers have discovered many other potential ways this type of medication can help benefit elderly health. The staff at North Coast Home Care Assistance explains some additional reasons why your elderly loved one’s doctor might prescribe antidepressants.

Alleviation of Sleep Disorders

Insomnia is a fairly common disorder among seniors. Drugs designed specifically for aiding sleep often either lead to a dependency or they quit working after some time. In some cases, doctors have noted antidepressants are more effective at treating late-night insomnia than medication designed for this purpose.

Pain Management

Chronic pain can become an issue for some seniors. Traditional painkillers simply block pain for a short amount of time, but antidepressants can affect how nerves communicate. Doctors have found antidepressants effective in treating pain related to disorders such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Because antidepressants change the way nerves work, they may work better than typical pain medication.

Relief from Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common condition in the elderly community, especially for senior women. Antidepressants change the way neurons communicate with the muscles that affect the pelvic region, and stronger pelvic muscles mean the likelihood of fewer issues with incontinence. If your loved one has not shown any signs of success with more traditional incontinence medicines, the doctor may prescribe off-label antidepressants.

Help Quitting Smoking

Cigarettes aren’t healthy for anyone, especially seniors. Seniors who are trying to quit this habit have often smoked for most of their lives, which makes it more difficult to quit. Zyban is a drug commonly prescribed to aid seniors in their journey to quit smoking, but it is actually just a brand name for bupropion, a popular antidepressant. One theory behind why this works is that people are less likely to crave nicotine when they are not experiencing anxiety or depression. Another theory is that this drug changes the way the center of the brain works.

Though it’s common for seniors to use antidepressants for these and other health conditions, your loved one should only take them if prescribed by his or her doctor. For additional strategies to help promote your loved one’s health, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can provide medication reminders, transportation to medical appointments, and assistance with various tasks around the house. We also offer specialised Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and post-stroke care North Coast families trust. For more information on our aged care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (02) 6646 3527 to request a no-obligation consultation.