While symptoms that include mood swings in younger women may be due to hormonal fluctuations, career pressure and family obligations, mood swings in older women often have different causes. The later stages of life affect individuals differently, depending on personal circumstances such as relationships and health issues. Mood swings in elderly women can be a symptom of an underlying illness.
Many people experience fluctuating moods that relate to certain causes, such as anticipation or excitement about upcoming events or sadness and discouragement due to current circumstances or overwork. Moods that shift for no apparent reason may indicate an emotional problem.
In addition to mood swings, you may notice irritability, demanding behaviors, sleeplessness, social withdrawal, confusion and memory problems. Watch for a growing lack of interest in usual pastimes, as well as changes in activity levels that may indicate the presence of mood disorders.
Age-related illnesses may cause mood changes in elderly women. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, depression affects over 6.5 million Americans aged 65 years and older. A type of depression known as bipolar disorder, or manic depression, can cause individuals to experience mood fluctuations between euphoria, irritable excitement and mania. Ailments common in elderly individuals, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, stroke, dementia and Parkinson’s disease may lead to mood disorders.
Psychology Information Online advises that women are almost twice as likely as men to experience bouts of depression. Depression in the elderly is often unrecognized and may progress without proper treatment. In addition to normal aging, elderly women may suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For instance, vitamin D deficiencies, a common occurrence in elderly women, may result in mood changes.
The initial factor in treating mood changes in elderly women involves recognizing the symptoms and seeking medical care. Medical care professionals may choose to treat mood changes with antidepressant drugs that can improve the quality of life in elderly women. While doctors may run tests to determine underlying causes of mood changes, families can help provide adequate care at home to encourage optimal mental health in elderly relatives. Along with medical care, a nutritious diet, combined with encouragement and social interaction, may help resolve nutritional deficiencies and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.