Panic or Heart Attack? How to Know the Difference.

The human body is really good at signaling when something is wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not very good at diagnosing itself. In fact, many of the signals it sends are virtually the same for a wide variety of conditions. And we tend to minimize our symptoms. So, if your body is telegraphing chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and lightheadedness, you may be inclined to chalk it up to stress or anxiety. Chances are, you’ll rule out anything more serious despite the fact that these can also be symptoms of a heart attack. So how can you tell if you’re having a panic or heart attack? Knowing the difference and acting fast could save your life.


Panic or heart attack? Maximizing your symptoms.

If you’ve never had a panic attack or heart attack and aren’t being treated for heart disease, it can be nearly impossible to differentiate between the two. Overlapping symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Anxiety or fear of impending doom
  • Racing, pounding or fluttering heart
  • Breathing difficulties; shortness of breath
  • Sweating or chills
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

With a heart attack, minutes equal muscle. In other words, the chances of saving precious heart muscle decrease with every minute that it takes to be diagnosed and treated. Don’t wait more than 5 minutes to call.

Recognizing and acknowledging your symptoms can help you minimize the damage caused by a heart attack.


Additional heart attack clues.

If you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you already know that you should take the symptoms listed above seriously and call for help. But if you don’t have a diagnosis or haven’t had a heart attack, there are additional symptoms that often accompany a heart attack but typically not a panic attack. They include:

  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Pain in the jaw, back, shoulders, neck or upper abdomen (often more common in women)
  • Heartburn

Additional panic attack clues.

These additional symptoms of an anxiety attack may help you tell whether you are having a panic or heart attack.

  • Sudden feelings of terror for no reason
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Abdominal cramping
  • An urge to flee
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached from your body

If you’ve suffered from anxiety before and this feels similar to a past panic attack that turned out to be stress-related, try some deep breathing exercises or meditation to see if your symptoms ease. If they don’t, get medical help right away.

When you’re not sure if it’s a panic or heart attack, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free, 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

9 Most Popular Health and Safety Blogs of the Year

We know it’s a full-time job taking care of your family’s health and safety, so we’re committed to doing all we can to help. That’s why we’ve presented this roundup of our top 9 health and safety blogs of 2017. Whether you’re concerned about snakebites, the opioid crisis, burns, texting on the toilet or other hot topics, we’ve got the expert advice you’re looking for — including ways to keep your family out of the ER.

Health and Safety Blog No. 1: Do You Know What to Do in a Snakebite Emergency?

Snakes have been in the news for the last few years, flushed out of their natural habitats by several consecutive wet seasons in North Texas. 2018 could very well follow that trend, so brush up on your snakebite emergency skills. You might also want to add these blogs to your list of serpent-themed surfing:

Snakes in the Grass: Know How to Avoid and Treat Snakebites

Pokémon Go: Know How to Avoid Injuries and Ekans Bites

Multigen-family-running-FB.jpgHealth and Safety Blog No. 2: First Aid for Burns: 5 Things You Should Never Do

We all learned “stop, drop and roll” in school but not how to treat burn injuries. Some of the most common burn treatment myths, such as using butter, are just that — incorrect information that can cause more harm than good. This blog will teach you how to recognize the severity of a burn and how to avoid the most common mistakes people make when treating burns. If you’re looking for an advanced degree in burns, add these to your reading list:

Learn About Burns: Get Schooled in Burn Awareness

How to be Fire-Safe and What to Do if You Get Burned

Don’t Get Burned: Know the Top Rules of Fire Safety

Jason West, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Denton, discusses when to go the ER for a burn and how to tell what percentage of a person’s body is burned.

Health and Safety Blog No. 3: Bathroom Blues: Are You Taking Your Tech to the Toilet?

The No. 3 spot goes to constipation and hemorrhoids. As well it should, since our expert says it takes just 20 minutes a day lounging in the loo to bum out your bum.

Health and Safety Blog No. 4: 10 Signs You Need to Go to the ER

From chest and abdominal pain to persistent vomiting, diarrhea and depression, this blog is packed with tips for how to recognize when your symptoms need emergency medical attention.

Manisha Gupta, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Denton, explains when your stomach pain warrants a trip to the ER.

Health and Safety Blog No 5: Five Opportunities and Insights from “13 Reasons Why”  

“13 Reasons Why” became the most-watched Netflix show when season one debuted last March. Based on a novel, the story centers on teen suicide and got parents, teachers and kids talking about this previously taboo subject. In this blog, our Medical City Green Oaks Hospital expert offers insight into how to use the show as an opportunity to talk to your own kids about depression, bullying, sexual assault and more.

In the follow-up blog, How “13 Reasons Why” Can Be a Lessons for All Ages, our expert discusses the growing rates of suicide in middle-aged adults and seniors.

Health and Safety Blog No 6: What You Need to Know About RSV

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is the virus responsible for a whole host of respiratory conditions, including colds, bronchitis, pneumonia and croup. Most children will have had an RSV infection by the age of two. In kids younger than 3, RSV can cause a dangerous illness called bronchiolitis — the most common cause of hospitalization in infants 12 months old and younger.

Health and Safety Blog No 7: The Growing Opioid Crisis: What You Need to Know

Labeled an epidemic by the CDC, the opioid crisis continues to take the lives of Americans of every age, race and socioeconomic level. In fact, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among those under 50. Read what our expert has to say about this growing concern, learn how to spot opioid abuse, discover common drugs you may not have known were opioids and find out what type of drugs you should never mix with opioids.

Health and Safety Blog No 8: How Much Water Do You Need to Drink Every Day?

The human body is made up of mostly water and yet almost 70% of us don’t drink enough to keep our bodies functioning properly. Symptoms of dehydration begin when we’ve lost just 1% of our water. At 2-3%, things start to crash. Could your fatigue, irritability, headache, dry skin or fuzzy brain be “cured” just by drinking more water? Read this and find out.


Health and Safety Blog No 9: Heartburn or Heart Attack? How to Save Your Own Life.

The symptoms of heartburn and heart attack can be surprisingly similar. In fact, heartburn is often a sign of heart attack, especially in women. Our experts discuss how to tell the difference between the two and when to call 911 or head to the nearest ER.

Steven Kaster, MD, a gastroenterologist at Medical City McKinney, shares the signs and symptoms of heart attack and heartburn and how to tell the difference.

Matt Bush, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Dallas, shares how to save a life with hands-only CPR.

For expert emergency care whenever you’re concerned about your family’s health and safety, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free, 24/7 Ask a Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter




Expert Answers to the Top 7 Questions About Depression

Netflix’s popular spring 2017 show, “13 Reasons Why,” highlighted the topics of depression and teen suicide. In a follow-up blog, we discussed the rising suicide rates among older adults. But there is still a lot of ground to cover before we have a common understanding of these mental health issues. To provide some answers, we went straight to the source.

Shanna Nasche, LPC, a counselor at Medical City Green Oaks Hospital, answers her patients’ top 7 questions about depression and provides strategies for communicating and seeking treatment.

How can I tell if it’s really depression or just a few bad days?

It’s common to feel sad from time to time. But if feelings of sadness or hopelessness persist for two or more weeks coupled with any of these other symptoms, it might be depression.

  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
  • Lack of interest or energy for everyday activities.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure for activities that used to be enjoyable.
  • Changes in weight or appetite.
  • Changes in sleep habits or energy level.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

It’s important to get help if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. You can get 24-hour emergency psychiatric care at Medical City Green Oaks Hospital by coming in or calling (972) 770-0818. You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

How much of depression is genetic?

Family history can play a role in depression, but it’s not a direct one-to-one ratio, says Nasche. “It’s not like ‘if my mom is depressed then I will be, too.’” Researchers are still looking for the specific genetic changes that predispose someone to depression, but they have made some findings, including:

  • Likelihood to inherit depression is probably 40-50% and might be higher for severe depression. This could mean that in most cases of depression, roughly 50% of the cause is genetic and the other 50% is from psychological or physical factors.
  • Major depressive disorder will affect at least 10% of the U.S. population at some point in their lives.
  • Having a parent or sibling with depression could increase the risk of developing it by at least 2-3 times compared with the average person.
  • Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with major depression (but that may be because women are more likely to seek treatment).

Can depression affect anyone?

Depression can happen to anyone at any age. In addition to genetic factors, hormones, biological differences and brain chemistry may also influence who gets depression.

Factors that have been found to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include:

  • Traumatic or stressful events, including the loss or death of loved ones, money problems or physical or sexual abuse.
  • Personal history of other mental health disorders, including eating disorders, anxiety disorder or PTSD.
  • Family history (blood relatives) of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide.
  • Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs).
  • Personality traits including low self-esteem, extreme dependence on others or being self-critical or pessimistic.
  • Having a serious or chronic illness.
  • Some medications.
  • Time of year, such as during the sunless winter months when people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) typically feel blue.

How can depression affect someone physically?

Nasche says that depression can take a physical toll and worsen existing health issues. Since serious/chronic illness is a depression trigger, it’s not hard to see how the physical and emotional symptoms of depression could influence each other.

Some of the ways depression takes a toll on the body include:

  • Appetite and nutrition issues, including eating too much, eating too little or binging on sweets and carbs, which can cause:
    • Stomachaches, cramps, constipation and malnutrition.
    • Eating disorders.
    • Obesity-related illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.
  • Stress issues, which can lead to heart disease and heart attack.
  • Immune system issues, which can make you more vulnerable to infections and diseases

How can I tell a family member or friend that I have depression?

Remember that depression is a real illness that is treatable and affects people in different ways. Having the condition doesn’t mean you are weak, but it can be very difficult to talk about. Tell your loved one you want to set up some time to chat and be prepared for questions.

Nasche says her patients report two types of reactions when they tell people they are depressed. Sometimes it’s love and support; other times, people think depression is just laziness. “No matter how educated the person is, some people just don’t believe in depression,” Nasche said. She always gives her patients the option to bring their loved one into a therapy session. Ask your doctor about this if it seems like the right decision for you.

What treatments are available for depression?

There are a number of treatment options for depression, so speak with your mental health professional about which ones might be right for you. Depression treatments include:

  • Medications (antidepressants) that can help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress.
  • Talk therapies (psychotherapy), such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps people change negative thinking, recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and change behaviors that may be worsening the depression.
  • A combination of the two.

Nasche says that if you’re functioning well — not feeling great but functioning — you probably have a choice of treatments. “If it’s pervasive,” she said, “you would benefit from a combination of medication and therapy.”

Things that can be done at home to help depression include:

  • Exercise, which can improve symptoms with just 20-30 minutes of activity several times per week.
    • Structured exercise (online yoga class or a short run outside).
    • Unstructured exercise (working in the garden or walking).
  • Adequate sleep.
  • A nutritious diet rich in fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and lean meats.
  • Support groups, which can be found locally and online. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a good place to begin your search.

How does therapy work?

The question Nasche gets asked most by her patients is how can I feel better? Her answer is to relate depression to other chronic diseases that must be managed, such as diabetes. Both conditions may require changes in behavior and lifestyle choices. Therapy can help identify and manage those changes.

Because depression thrives on under-stimulation, isolation and inertia, behavioral changes are crucial. Some therapists work with patients on developing interpersonal skills, which can help them integrate and communicate better. “We’ve got to consciously work on shifting the mood by finding ways to integrate these behavioral changes into their typical day or week,” said Nasche.

However, the strategies patients use to manage their depression must be ones they can stick to. “I tell my patients that one of the first things that we are going to do is figure out a handful of tools that they are willing to use,” Nasche said.

What to do if you think someone might be depressed.

Many times, people with depression might not realize that they are affected; they might think that their feelings of sadness are normal. “They don’t realize that their functioning could notably improve,” said Nasche.

Try talking to this person and encourage them to get help. Emphasize that depression is a medical condition. Explain that, just like going to the doctor for a physical every year, it’s important to be assessed by a doctor for your mental health. Let them know that a mental health professional can talk with them about their emotions. While depression is serious, it’s also treatable. With the help of loved ones, getting through it may be a little easier.

Get fast, emergency help in any crisis at one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

When to Be Concerned About These 5 Common Health Symptoms

We all know someone who, at the first sign of a sniffle or tummy ache, runs to the doctor for a prescription. Then there are those on the other end of the spectrum who have to be dragged kicking and screaming to an emergency room for advanced treatment. Most of us fall somewhere in between but tend to wait a bit too long before admitting that we need help to diagnose or treat an illness. For those of us guilty of a “wait and see” mentality, here are 5 common health symptoms that may be more serious than you think and shouldn’t be ignored.

You’ve had a cough for more than three weeks.

The common cold typically lasts 1- to 14 days, but some can last as long as 21 days. One of the viruses that causes colds is RSV, a highly contagious upper respiratory illness that also causes bronchitis, pneumonia, croup, bronchiolitis and asthma. When you’ve had what you think is a cold and have been coughing for three weeks or longer, you should probably have it checked to rule out one of these more serious secondary infections.

20171212 HCA Influenza Infographic

Learn how to cough and sneeze without infecting others.

Your nose is kinda runny and some people think it’s funny but it’s snot.

Most people produce 1 to 1.5 liters of mucus a day even when they’re not sick. It’s useful for moisturizing passageways, blocking foreign invaders and transporting protective antibodies, enzymes and white blood cells. When you have a cold, flu or other upper respiratory illness, your mucus tends to thicken. But what you really need to be concerned about is the color and/or any odor. Yellow or green mucus could mean you have a sinus infection, especially if accompanied by headache, congestion, fever or pain and pressure in your face.

Learn how to tell what the color of mucus means.

Your blood pressure is 120/80.  

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 used to be the gold standard of good health. But recently the American Heart Association revised its guidelines, putting nearly half of U.S. adults in the high blood pressure category, up from 33 percent. The goal of the change is to encourage earlier treatment with lifestyle changes and medication where appropriate. High blood pressure typically has no symptoms put puts you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Normal
    • Less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic
  • Elevated
    • Between 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 1)
    • Between 130-139 systolic or between 80-89 diastolic
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 2) =
    • Between 140-180 systolic or between 90-120 diastolic
  • Hypertensive Crisis (seek emergency medical help immediately)
    • Higher than 180 systolic and/or higher than 120 diastolic

Learn how to recognize the signs of stroke.



You’re having stomach pain.

Abdominal pain is the No. 1 reason for emergency room visits — probably because it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in there. A ruptured appendix, diverticulitis, stomach flu, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney stones and cholecystitis are just a few of the possible diagnoses. See a doctor if the pain is severe, lasts for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as high fever, dehydration, bleeding, nausea and vomiting or other unusual signs.

Learn when to visit the ER with stomach pain.


You’re feeling sluggish, guilty, irritable, achy, impulsive or unfocused.

Having even just one of these common and seemingly mild symptoms could indicate depression. While most of us are quick to find other explanations for these signs, it’s important to talk to someone if you feel there might be something more. Consider also what time of year it is; people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or social anxiety often have a harder time throughout the bleak winter months and during the busy, social holiday season.

Be aware that while the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” highlighted teen suicide, suicide rates among older adults is increasing more rapidly. According to the CDC, depression is a true and treatable medical condition and not a normal part of aging. It’s important to get help for depression regardless of age.

For help with mental health issues or depression, call Medical City Green Oaks Hospital’s crisis line 24/7/365 at (972) 770-0818.

For fast, emergency help with these common health symptoms and more, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter


The Growing Opioid Crisis: What You Need To Know

The next time you visit a doctor for an ache or pain, you may walk out with a referral to a chiropractor or acupuncturist instead of a prescription for an opioid pain reliever. In an effort to stem the tide of the opioid crisis and stop the skyrocketing number of U.S. drug overdoses (which The New York Times is estimating will reach an all-time high with more than 59,000 in 2016) a new FDA proposal suggests physicians should be knowledgeable about alternative pain therapies that might help patients avoid prescription opioids and drug addiction.

Opioid abuse — labeled an epidemic by the CDC and a healthcare crisis by the president — causes at least 91 deaths a day. Some experts think this number is highly underestimated. Although the opioid crisis has been building for some time, awareness heightened after the May 2017 DUI arrest of golfer Tiger Woods’, who was found to be under the influence of a number of opioid medications. A year earlier, entertainer Prince died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid many times stronger than heroine or morphine.

It’s not just celebrities and athletes who are dying: Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. And the opioid crisis is largely to blame, with at least two million Americans abusing or dependent on opioid pain relievers.

white-pills-opioid-crisisThe opioid crisis: this generation’s HIV epidemic.

Joel Holiner, MD, addiction specialist and executive medical director of Medical City Green Oaks Hospital, calls addiction this generation’s HIV epidemic.

“At its peak in 1995, HIV claimed 51,000 U.S. lives, and we appear to approach that number with opioid deaths,” he said. “But while the HIV epidemic centered primarily on specific populations, opioid abuse crosses all geographic, demographic and socioeconomic groups. It’s not a stretch to think that the death rate could rise up to 500,000 individuals in the next decade.”

Dr. Holiner says emergency rooms have seen a 114% increase in patients being treated for opioid use or misuse in recent years. Among the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S., opioids are a group of narcotics that includes drugs made from opium (opiates) and synthetic drugs that act like opiates (opioids). In 2013, providers wrote more than a quarter of a billion opioid prescriptions. That’s enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

How to spot opioid abuse or addiction.         

With so many people taking them, you might think it would be pretty easy to spot an addict. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Because many opioid abusers don’t look or act like stereotypical drug users, they can be hard to recognize. Abusers themselves may not recognize that they have a problem. Here are some of the side effects of opioids to look out for:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, poor judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Small pupils
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria or depression
  • Increase or decrease in pain tolerance
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth
  • Itching, flushing, sweating
  • Low levels of testosterone, decreased sex drive, energy and strength
  • Tolerance: increasing dosage or seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Turning to illegal street drugs, such as heroin, when prescriptions run out

“It’s estimated that almost 50% of heroin addicts turned to the drug after losing access to prescription pain pills,” Dr. Holiner said. “Heroin resulted in more overdose deaths than gun-related fatalities in 2015 and six times more deaths than reported in 2002.”

opioid crisis support groupCommon drugs you may not have known were opioids.

Opioids are pain relievers made from natural opium (poppies) or synthetic opium. The two natural products of opium are:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine

Codeine is often included in prescription cough syrups and combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) in tablets.

Synthetic opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone with Tylenol (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilauded)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone with Tylenol (Percocet)
  • Oxycodone with aspirin (Percodan)

How to prevent opioid abuse.

To avoid opioid overuse or addiction:

  • Ask your doctor for the lowest appropriate dosage
  • Take only as prescribed and for a short period of time
  • Know what’s in your medications and don’t mix opioids with alcohol or benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan)
  • Ask your doctor to suggest alternative, non-narcotic drugs or therapies

Having a mental illness or history of alcohol or substance abuse are among the risk factors for opioid addiction. Medical City Green Oaks is recognized as an effective, innovative psychiatric facility serving patients in North Texas. Call their 24-hour hotline at (972) 770-0818 for a free assessment.

HCA Medical City Ask a Nurse Infographic_Revised

If someone has overdosed, call 911 immediately.

For fast, emergency help in a crisis, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24-hour Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

How “13 Reasons Why” Can Be a Lesson for All Ages

The controversial Netflix series about a teenage girl’s suicide, “13 Reasons Why,” has kids and parents everywhere talking. In our previous blog, Five Opportunities and Insights from “13 Reasons Why,” a Medical City Green Oaks Hospital adolescent psychiatrist discussed the show’s potential impact on teenagers. But there are other populations that are at even higher risk for suicide: older adults. Medical experts at the Geriatric Behavioral Unit at Medical City North Hills are hoping the Selena Gomez-produced series, which has just been renewed for season two, will also bring attention to the disturbing rates of senior suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that from 1999 to 2011, suicide rates among adults 45 to 64 years of age jumped 40 percent. Statistics show that this trend is continuing.

Suicide rates by age (per 100,000 individuals) from 2000 through 2015

  • 19.6 (45-64)
  • 19.4 (85 and older)
  • 17.1 (35-44)
  • 16.1 (65-84)
  • 15.5 (20-34)
  • 3 (Under 20)

The sense of loss of control over one’s life, from financial circumstances or the pain and physical disability associated with chronic health problems, can contribute to depression, a key factor for suicidal thoughts in older adults, a counselor with Medical City North Hills’ Geriatric Behavior Unit said.

Texas ranks near the bottom — No. 41 — in number of deaths by suicide but even so, on average, one person dies by suicide every three hours in the state.

Other factors that influence senior suicide rates include:

  • Gender and age: Middle-aged white males have the highest suicide rate and accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015 (men of all ages die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women)
  • A previous diagnosis of mental illness: This accounts for more than 90% of suicide deaths, regardless of age
  • Social isolation: Including from death of a spouse or divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor sleep quality and having trouble falling asleep: These factors increased seniors’ risk of suicide by 1.2 times, according to a JAMA Psychiatry study

It’s vitally important for family members to take note of changes in sleeping or eating habits in elderly loved ones. You should consider all verbal remarks about ending a life as a sign for intervention or assistance. Those types of comments should be taken seriously and professional mental health help should be sought immediately.

The good news is, depression is not a normal part of aging, but a true and treatable medical condition. According to the CDC, the majority of older adults aren’t depressed and most who are can get relief from their symptoms with treatment.

Warning signs of senior suicide.

If you see any of these warning signs in a spouse or loved one, seek immediate medical help.

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Decreased social interaction, self-care and grooming
  • Breaking medical regimens, including going off diets, refusing medications
  • Significant personal loss, such as the death or impending death of a loved one
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Putting affairs in order, giving away possessions, making changes to a will
  • Stockpiling medications or obtaining other lethal means (remove access to firearms; about half of all suicides are attributed to the use of firearms, according to the CDC)
  • Preoccupation with death or loss of regard for personal safety
  • Comments indicating finality, including “This is the last time you’ll see me,” or “I won’t be needing any more appointments”
  • Talking about or attempting suicide

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) provides free and confidential resources and support for people of all ages in distress or crisis.

Call Medical City Green Oaks Hospital’s crisis line 24/7/365 at (972) 770-0818.

For fast, emergency help in a crisis, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

Revised 1/25/2018