Table: Heeding the Cry

If an elderly loved one is not eating or sleeping, lethargic, anxious, confused, hallucinating, or seeming to get no enjoyment out of life, he or she may be suffering from a psychological illness. Here's what you can do:

-- Find a doctor who is not dismissive of symptoms as signs of old age

-- Rule out possible physical causes, such as diabetes, mild stroke, and thyroid disorders

-- Review medications to see if drugs could be the culprit

-- Try cognitive behavioral therapy, which gives patients a greater sense of control and general happiness

-- Investigate antidepressant drugs such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Celexa, which can mitigate persistent symptoms

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