3 Mental Health Conditions That Commonly Affect Seniors

Posted on: 28 September 2021

Mental health is important for everyone, but many people are at risk of developing mental disorders like depression. Senior citizens are often at high risk because of many factors, such as isolation. If you would like to know more so you can better care for your aging loved one, keep reading to learn about these three mental health conditions that can affect seniors.

1. Anxiety

Anxiety comes in many forms, but some of the most common include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, and panic disorder. GAD in seniors can destroy their overall mental and physical health because it can cause irritation, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, etc.

Phobias are fears directly related to something, and they can include anything. Someone can have a phobia of bugs or a phobia of death in general. For anyone, facing a phobia can be stressful, but for seniors, they may also experience heart palpitations and shortness of breath, which can affect their overall health.

Panic disorder is a condition in which your loved one suddenly gets a feeling of dread. As if they are being attacked, their body goes into fight or flight mode. This can be exhausting and may make your loved one avoid some activities that trigger panic attacks.

2. Depression

Depression in seniors is often associated with isolation and/or neglect. Seniors who have little to no interaction with family or friends may start to feel unloved, hopeless, unwanted, etc. Seniors who experience neglect or abuse may internalize that neglect and blame themselves. Even if they don't, being stuck in that situation can drastically reduce the quality of life.

Depression is incredibly dangerous, especially in older Americans. Just like anxiety, it can affect their overall health, but depression may also cause your loved one to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol. They may also experience suicidal thoughts, and with little to no one around to talk to, the feelings just intensify.

3. Dementia

Dementia is a cognitive condition that affects many seniors. It presents with many symptoms, but some of the most common include memory problems, reasoning problems, poor attention skills, and little to no communication.

Dementia can cause your loved one to forget familiar information like the names of close family members and important life events. Alzheimer's disease is one form of dementia, but there are multiple other forms, such as vascular dementia, which is usually connected to strokes.

If you have a senior loved one, it's time to check in on their mental health. Mental health conditions can destroy their quality of life and even impact their physical health. If you would like to know more, contact a senior mental healthcare provider today, like RPS Care.