Conditions

Mental Health Conditions Not Normal Part Of Aging, Expert Says

Symptoms of mental health conditions are usually seen as part of getting older, especially as we age. However, one expert says that mental problems are not a normal part of aging.

Expert Says Mental Health Conditions Are Not A Part Of Aging

Usually, whenever a person who’s into his older years start showing symptoms of mental health conditions, the problems are often seen as a side effect of aging. One expert says otherwise and the statistics themselves tell another story.

This is because depression —

which is the most common condition that’s experienced by older adults —

has increased by some 15 percent over the past six years especially in people living in Ohio that are aged 65 and older. Per the latest study, 1 in 8 older Ohioans now suffer from the mental health condition, putting the nation at the 14th place for the number of older adults that are struggling with depression.

And while the widespread belief is that mental illness is the fault of older patients and their caregivers, that’s not actually the case. Furthermore, leaving mental health problems untreated can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and in some cases, suicide.

However, one such mental health problem that older adults normally do is social isolation. This occurs when people become disconnected from their family and friends. And contrary to popular belief, age doesn’t cause this.

“Studies suggest that social isolation increases mortality in older adults, and illnesses and conditions such as chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility and depression are all linked to it. Don’t assume that feeling like this is part of getting older. At Buckeye, we encourage our older members to learn the signs of social isolation. We can connect them with mental health specialists, resources and support,” Laura Paynter, director of behavioral health for Buckeye Health Plan, said.

As such, people who are going through it should be given immediate help, which can start with giving them social opportunities that can help them feel connected to others again. This can be as simple as calling them often, volunteering to a cause and getting involved with the local senior center.

Aging & Depression The study linked greater depressive symptoms in older adults with worse episodic memory and smaller cerebral volume. Mikael Kristenson/Unsplash

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