Depression and Aging
For more than four decades, Dr. Robin Ohringer has helped children, teens, and adults as a psychotherapist in Massachusetts. Over the course of her career, Dr. Robin Ohringer has come to focus her work on helping girls and women between the ages of 14 and 60 and has addressed such issues as anxiety, depression, and various age-related mental health problems.
As people age, they typically experience a greater number of losses and thus may be more prone to sadness. Although feeling sad is normal, a lingering sense of hopelessness is not. This sense of hopelessness is a sign of depression, as is irritability, fatigue, reduced enthusiasm for hobbies or other interests, and change in appetite. Unfortunately, depression in older adults is often undertreated or misdiagnosed. This sometimes happens because health care providers may mistake a person’s symptoms of depression as a normal reaction to major life changes or illness. Further, many older adults believe depression doesn’t need to be treated, but this is not the case.
When depression goes untreated, an older adult’s daily life is diminished. Their changes in eating habits can result in either obesity or, in extreme cases, geriatric anorexia, a condition characterized by decreased energy levels and loss of appetite. Older adults with depression also have higher rates of memory loss and insomnia and slower reaction times.
Fortunately, depression in older adults can be treated. Caregivers, adult children, or older adults themselves must recognize the signs of depression. They can then seek out the help of a trained therapist. Depending on the situation, this professional will prescribe medication to reduce the symptoms and suggest varying types of treatments, including regular therapy or increased amounts of sunlight.
As a privately practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Robin Ohringer treats individuals of all ages but maintains a client base primarily composed of women age 14 to 60. In treating this population, Dr. Robin Ohringer has discovered a particular interest in treating the emotional struggles inherent in pregnancy loss.
Miscarriage, also known as loss of pregnancy or spontaneous abortion, can be devastating for a woman. She finds herself grieving not only for the child she never had a chance to raise but the experiences that she had expected to have. The related feelings of deep sadness may for some women develop into clinical depression, a serious mental illness characterized by such symptoms as hopelessness, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, and even thoughts of suicide.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who have experienced a pregnancy loss have a greater risk of a major depressive disorder as compared to women who have not carried a child. The risk is particularly strong in those women who have miscarried and have had major depression in the past, as 50 percent of these women experience a recurrence of the depression.
Fortunately, data has shown that mental health support can significantly reduce a woman’s emotional challenges in the first year after the pregnancy loss. Professional support may take the form of psychotherapy or medication, though some women also seek out the fellowship of others in their situation or engage in personal healing rituals. It is vitally important that women with depression after pregnancy loss receive the time and space they need to process their loss in a way that works for them, without judgment or demands to heal at anyone else’s pace.
With her own private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Robin Ohringer has served as a psychotherapist for more than 40 years. To stay abreast of the developments in her field, Robin Ohringer maintains membership in several professional organizations, including the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
The world’s largest association of professional social workers, the NASW promotes education and personal growth among its members. The association provides credentials in recognition of professional achievement that helps open up opportunities for career advancement.
Credentials offered by the NASW are given in the form of a certification and show that professionals have specialized training in areas ranging from addictions and healthcare to hospice, gerontology, and case management. Social workers who have earned advanced certification are recognized as having proven work experience, in-depth knowledge, and competence in the field, as well as advanced leadership capacity. Employers often seek out professionals with specialized credentials to fill positions of leadership within their organization, giving certified professionals the opportunity to earn a higher salary.
National Association of Social Workers
Robin Ohringer draws on three decades of professional experience in her work as a psychotherapist in private practice. Her education background includes graduate degrees in social work and advanced training in various therapy techniques. Alongside her day-to-day activities as a psychotherapist, Robin Ohringer stays current on topics in her field through memberships in several professional groups, including the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Each March, NASW celebrates National Social Work Month as part of its efforts to raise awareness of the various mental health, advocacy, and direct assistance services that social workers provide. During the month, the organization advances its message through podcasts, videos, social media, and public outreach activities based on a specific theme that changes every year.
In 2018, NASW will focus on the theme “Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” Activities and initiatives will highlight the ways in which the nation’s 650,000 social workers assist society’s most vulnerable populations. Those who would like to get involved can do so by promoting it with the help of social media and NASW’s online Social Work Month toolkit. For more information, visit www.socialworkers.org.