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Depression is more than just feeling down or sad. It is a disease that negatively impacts every area of your life, not just your mood, this according to Chair of Psychiatry at Howard County General Hospital Andrew Angelino M.D. Unfortunately, this medical condition that has such negative implications is far from uncommon. In fact, according to The World Health Organization, depression will become the second-leading cause of disability in the world, behind only cardiovascular disease, by the year 2020. Therefore, it is important for you to understand the risk of depression and not to take it lightly as it can effect you immensely as you age. Read on to learn more:

Statistics About Depression And Older Adults (Mental Health America Survey)

  • Older adults are the group suffering from depression are more likely to say they will “handle it themselves,” instead of seeking medical help. Only 42% of those surveyed said they would reach out for professional help.
  • Some 58% of individuals aged 65 years-of-age or older feel its just a “normal” part of aging to feel depressed.
  • A surprisingly small amount, only 38%, of adults 65 years-of-age or older believe depression is a “health” issue.
  • Most older adults, some 68%, know little or nothing about depression.
  • Individuals are most likely to experience depression between the ages of 45 and 64, and if they are a woman, they have twice the risk for the condition when compared to men

Depression is More Than a Bad Mood

According to Dr. Angelio, depression is more than a bad mood that you can shake off as mentioned above. It is actually a disease within the brain. MRI studies have revealed differences or changes in the brains of depressed patients, proving the disease to be more than simply “feeling down.” 

Physical Problems That Can Result From Depression

Depression has been proven to correlate with the following conditions, revealing the link between your mental health and your physical wellbeing:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Back issues.
  • Arthritis.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Immune responses to vaccines.
  • More…

Symptoms of Depression

The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with depression. Although they vary widely between patients, these three aspects are almost always present with depression:

  • Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms: You might lack interest in things you once enjoyed. Have no motivation, be irritable, worry excessively, have excessive guilt, have difficulty making decisions and/or just have a depressed mood.
  • Physical Symptoms: You might have sleep problems. This could include sleeping too much, or not being able to sleep enough. You might also notice fatigue, changes in your appetite, headaches, aches and pains, weight gain or loss, tingling or burning sensations and/or heart palpitations.
  • Behavioral Symptoms:  You could have angry outbursts, cry uncontrollably, become obsessed with work, withdraw from family members and friends, begin hurting yourself by abusing drugs or alcohol or cutting yourself and/or even consider or attempt suicide.

Your Next Step

If you recognize any of the symptoms listed above within your own life, you need to seek professional help as soon as possible. Don’t feel this is a sign of weakness as depression is a very real medical condition, over which you have no control. Thankfully, there is help available. You only need to reach out. When you get the help you need, the sun will shine once again in your life and you will overcome and thrive.

Sources:
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/diseases_and_conditions/depression-what-you-need-to-know-as-you-age
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-older-adults-more-facts

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