According to the National Institutes of Health, about 2 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from full-blown (major depressive disorder) depression and another 5 million suffer from less severe forms.

You or someone you love may be at risk if you’ve experienced any of the following:

* bereavement—mourning the loss of a spouse, family member or close friend or multiple losses of contemporaries
* loneliness and isolation that may be caused by living alone
* less social interaction or becoming a caregiver
fear of death and anxiety about aging
* job loss including retirement
* financial distress
* loss of purpose after retirement or reduced mobility
* a family history of depression
* necessary medications for other chronic conditions that can trigger depression
* Major illnesses including stroke and heart attack that can lead to depression. Dr. Jair Soares, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Medical School, says 50 percent of stroke patients will develop depression.

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