Mental health issues in older adults can happen for a variety of reasons. By learning to recognize the signs and symptoms, you can take the first step in getting the help you need.
Most Common Mental Health Issues in Older Adults
While the causes and symptoms may vary in older adults, many of the mental health conditions in older adults are the same as those in younger adults. Statistically, you are most likely to develop one of the following mental health disorders.
Because depression often occurs along with other mental health conditions in older adults, it is often overlooked. While depression is one of the most common mental health issues in older adults, it is also frequently underdiagnosed. Individuals who have this condition may experience physical discomfort, sleep problems, ongoing sadness, and loss of interest in activities they once loved.
You are more likely to suffer from depression if you have experienced physical illness, heavy alcohol consumption, and widowhood. While depression is underdiagnosed, it is also one of the most successfully treated mental health conditions.
Frequent Mental Distress
Frequent mental distress (FMD) can affect life activities, like eating, going to work, having relationships, or taking care of yourself. It can impact your physical health. If you experience stress, depression, or problems with your emotions during 14 or more of the last 30 days, you may suffer from FMD.
Depression and anxiety often occur at the same time, so many people can experience both at once. These excessive, persistent worries and fears can make it hard to live a happy life.
Signs and Symptoms of Adult Mental Health Issues
Often, mental health conditions are underdiagnosed and undertreated because older adults tend to report their physical symptoms instead of their mental symptoms. If you or your loved one notices any of the following symptoms, you may need professional treatment and support.
Changed Their Habits
If someone is suffering from depression, they may become withdrawn and stop taking part in activities they once loved. If your loved one suddenly changes their eating habits or relationship patterns, it may be a sign of a mental health issue.
Someone who was previously relaxed may have emotional outbursts or become angry. Other individuals may report feelings of guilt, anxiety, or sadness. If a mood change lasts for two weeks or more, it may be a sign of a mental health issue.
Many mental health issues in older adults can lead to physical changes. When someone is depressed, they may stop eating or exercising. This, in turn, can cause unexplained weight loss and changes to their grooming habits.
Likewise, the individual may also stop caring about how they clean and maintain the world around them. If they have a mental health issue, their home and yard may also look unkempt.
Get Help for Mental Health Problems
If your loved one shows signs of mental health issues in older adults, help is available. The Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute has a range of services for supporting older adults who need help. To learn more about our options, reach out to our team of mental health professionals today.