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Is Your Parent Taking These? Common Medications Linked with Mental Illness in the Elderly

Caring for an elderly parent can be a challenging undertaking, no matter how much one loves their mom or dad. In addition to figuring out different elements of your parent’s care, such as free home healthcare services, nursing home care, and more, it is also important to keep an eye out for any signs of cognitive decline and mental illness, especially depression. If your loved one is taking any of the following medications, it’s important to note the medications’ association with mental illness, as well as side effects and risk signs to look for.

Medical Conditions and Medications that Are Linked to Depression

There are a variety of medical conditions, as well as prescription medications, that are associated with depression and other mental illnesses in elderly adults. Some conditions that are associated with depression include:

  • Heart disease;
  • Cancer;
  • Stroke;
  • Nutrient deficiencies (something that is very important to watch out for, especially if your loved one is residing within a nursing home);
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Dementia; and
  • Diabetes.

There are also some medications that can cause or worsen the symptoms of depression. These include various blood pressure medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, steroids, selective estrogen-receptor modulators, ulcer medications, beta-blockers, and more.

Drugs Used to Treat Depression and Mental Illness

There are also a variety of drugs that are used to treat mental illness; however, drugs are not always effective, and in some cases, symptoms of mental illness can even worsen before they improve. What’s more, going off of the medication can have serious mental health consequences. The drugs most commonly used to treat depression are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and include fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and escitalopram (Lexapro). Other medications that may be used to treat conditions like anxiety, psychosis, bipolar disorder or other mood or mental disorders include clonazepam, haloperidol, lithium, carbamazepine, and more.

Know the Side Effects of Parents’ Medication

While prescription medication can be extremely helpful, providing an elderly person with the relief and treatment that they need, all medications have side effects, some of which are more dangerous than others. If your elderly parent is taking any prescription medications to treat mental illness or is taking prescription medications that have mental health-related side effects, you need to know. Familiarizing yourself with all of the side effects of your parent’s medications is a must; if your parent is suffering from a side effect that is dangerous, it’s important that action is taken immediately.

Getting Your Parent the Care They Need

Caring for an elderly loved one is a big responsibility, and with your busy life, you may not always be able to be there for your parent. Fortunately, there are other options available, ranging from nursing homes and energy workers compensation programs to free home healthcare provided to EEOICPA and RECA beneficiaries. To learn more, reach out to United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care directly. We can answer your questions about EEOICPA and RECA.