There are several clinical challenges that are involved when it comes to treatment for older adults who suffer from new or chronic mental illnesses. An older loved one may develop one of these conditions in their golden years, or they may have been diagnosed a long time ago and remained stable on the same medication. However, the treatment plan for an older adult needs to be adjusted with age since their aging body processes drugs differently and they may develop new health conditions. Here is what you need to know about mental health issues in older adults.
Signs of Mental Illness in Older Adults
Unfortunately, mental illness is often misunderstood. It is something that is commonly denied, mocked, or even stigmatized in the media, schools, and conversations with family and friends. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness or a moral failing. It actually impacts how an individual thinks, feels, and communicates. The diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness are much more complex for the elderly. Symptoms of the condition are often dismissed as something that comes naturally with age. Older adults often lack access to proper treatment due to this reason.
What Causes Mental Illness?
A mental condition is not caused by just one significant event. A variety of factors play a role, including family history, living environment, and lifestyle choices. Individuals who are exposed to factors like prolonged stress at work or home, exposure to trauma, or being a victim of crime can also suffer from mental illnesses. Basic brain structure, biochemical processes, and nutrition also play a major role in mental health results.
Treatments and Therapies for Mental Health Issues in Older Adults
The most used form of therapy is comprised of cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, stress management techniques, self-help or support groups, and psychiatric medications. Each patient is unique, thus it is crucial to understand that treatments can differ significantly. People may experience the exact mental condition but still display different symptoms. Settling on an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment needs time through trial and error.
The Link between Aging, Depression, and Chronic Illness
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses but they do not include just excessive nervousness or feeling the blues. Like any other chronic illness such as hypertension or diabetes, mental illnesses are treatable. Anxiety and sadness are normal reactions for older adults who are aging and sick, but they shouldn’t be excessive.
Older adults usually suffer from depression along with other critical illnesses such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. These illnesses in turn cause them to experience changes in their independence and mobility. Depression that is left untreated can delay a patient’s recovery or even worsen their health conditions. The solution can be as simple as receiving memory care to help older adults better manage their physical symptoms and lead a much more enhanced retirement lifestyle. To learn more about our programs, inquire with our professional senior living experts today.