When we grow older, our body tends to get weak. However, it’s not just our physical strength and physical body that grows weaker as we add another year in our lives. By the time we reach our senior years, our minds are also more susceptible to certain mental health issues.
People are getting more open-minded towards mental health issues these days, something that is fortunate as more are aware and educated. This time, we’ll be focusing more on mental health issues that older people suffer from.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the population of people over 60 has some mental health disorder. They also believe that this number will rise over the years.
There are 3.8% of the older population who are struggling with anxiety and men over the age of 75 have a higher suicide rate compared to other age groups.
But despite the number, people only seldom talk about mental health disorders in older people. In fact, some see it as a common sign of aging that goes along with environmental and even health factors. The symptoms can also be subtle, and people think it goes along with other health issues they suffer from.
However, mental health issues are not something anyone should just shrug off. For the people suffering from one and the people around them, this kind of health problem is as tough as suffering any chronic disease.
Risks of Mental Illness
It has long been regarded that mental illness can cause physical health problems and vice versa.
For example, senior citizens that have chronic illnesses like cancer are likely to have depression compared to older people who are healthy. At the same time, those who have clinical depression that is left untreated are more prone to getting sick and acquiring problems like heart diseases.
Possible causes of mental illness in senior citizens
According to WHO, one of the possible reasons why senior citizens are vulnerable to depression and anxiety could be linked to stressors that are common in later life. This includes the loss of certain abilities such as being able to be more independent and the decline in their functional abilities.
Here are also some of the possible triggers believed to be linked with mental illness surrounding seniors:
- Chronic pain
- Major life changes
- Physical disabilities and impairments
- Malnutrition and poor diet
- Dementia-causing problems
There are different treatments for various types of mental health issues. The treatment often depends on the diagnosis of an expert. However, treatments could be a mixture of oral medications, physical activities like meditation and yoga, and counselling.
There are also studies showing the possible effect of recombinant HGH in elders who are experiencing dementia and similar mental illnesses due to growth hormone deficiency and insufficiency. You can buy Saizen HGH if your doctor gives you a prescription.
Most Common Elderly Mental Health Problems
Anyone at almost any age could be diagnosed with a certain type of mental health issues. There are the common ones that are well-documented in the medical field and rarer types that remain as a mystery to even experts.
However, there are also certain mental health issues that seem to trigger people at a certain age. Here are two of the most common elderly mental health problems that often cause problems for older people aged 60 and above.
Depression is a type of mood disorder that could lead to inability to live a normal daily life. Contrary to common belief, depression isn’t merely feeling “sad.” In fact, sadness isn’t the strongest emotion surrounding depression. However, it is one of the symptoms.
Common signs of depression among elderly people include:
- Feeling of despair and overwhelming sadness
- Lost in interest in activities you used to love
- Social isolation
- Feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
- Unexplained body pains and aches
- Suicidal thoughts
- Problems with focus and memory
- Weight loss due to loss of appetite
Sadly, depression in elderly people are often underdiagnosed and thus, left untreated. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from depression, bring them to a specialist and seek help immediately.
Dementia is not a specific mental health problem but is a general term for describing a group of symptoms surrounding loss of memory and severe impairment of thinking skills. This often greatly reduces a person’s ability to perform daily tasks.
About 60% to 80% of Dementia cases are Alzheimer’s disease. The second most common is Vascular dementia that normally happens in the aftermath of a stroke.
Symptoms of Dementia can vary greatly. But, it is considered as Dementia if you have any severe difficulty in at least two of the core mental functions.
Many of the mental health issues in senior citizens are often ignored and therefore, left untreated. There are possible treatments that could help alleviate the symptoms they feel, the only thing left to do is to acknowledge these issues so we can find the best option for our elderly.