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Depression

Mother`s Mental Health

11/03/2008

Question:

My 81 year old mother is very healthy, and has no health problems. She is very fortunate to have family to take her all around. She does not drive and she never has. When she was younger she would take the city bus around.

She refuses to get up and out of bed. We ask her what`s wrong and she says she does not know. She is losing weight. We have a doctor for her that prescribed her anti-depressent medicine.

She has no interest in any thing. She will not cook. She complains that she does not sleep. I tell her, how can you sleep when you don`t do anything all day?

How do we get her out of bed? Do we force her out of bed?

Is there a facility that can help us? We have to work full-time and cannot constantly take care of her.

PLEASE help. We are at wits end.

Answer:

It would be best to have a psychiatrist evaluate your mother, if that's possible. The combination of symptoms sounds suggestive of depression, but it could be other syndromes too. A thorough evaluation should clarify what the problem is. The most critical hour is the first hour out of bed. If you can find something that engages her interest early in the morning (grandchildren, phone calls, a game), she may be able to stay out of bed for a while and build on that day to day. Often this requires the help of a therapist. Activity can help trigger the recovery from depression.

For more information:

Go to the Depression health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lawson  Wulsin, MD Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati