How to Handle Depression as We Grow Older

woman speaking to her psychiatrist

Our mental health plays a big role in our growth. Children can live much healthier social lives if their parents care for them. Teenagers become helpful adults if they learn autonomy at a young age. Adults become less vulnerable to mental illness if they can build strong and meaningful relationships in their lives

This is how we grow, but sometimes, we can reach a downward spiral. Sometimes, we might feel like we’re stuck at the bottom of a well, with zero energy for us to climb back up. That’s how depression feels in most cases.

The worse part about depression is that many adults and seniors are vulnerable to such an illness. The number of older adults with depression reaches about 20% of the overall population. It’s quite common that myths are circulating that it’s normal for older adults to get depression. It’s not. What’s worse is that some seniors can feel depressed for many years without people knowing about it.

Persistent Depression

Persistent depression is a kind of depression that stays with us long. Unlike major depressive disorder (MDD), which lasts between six to eighteen months, persistent depression can last for more than two years. Although the symptoms of persistent depression are much lighter than MDD, its prolonged nature is what permanently damages people’s overall mental state.

Older adults are susceptible to persistent depression when compared to any other demographic. Those part of the minority is also more likely to develop persistent depression.

There are two main ways to treat this illness. First, you can choose to get therapy or get some medication. If the depression is severe, then you might have to do both. However, experts state that it’s much better to prevent the illness from happening in the first place. You can do so by investing your time in these activities.

Meditation and Self-Affirmation

Calmness is what we need the most in this stressful life of ours. It gives us a moment of clarity and a way to understand our current situation. Unfortunately, some people can get so stressed out that they forget to care for themselves. This is the main reason for depression—people forgetting to take care of themselves.

You can give yourself that moment of clarity through meditation and self-affirmation exercises. It gives you the ability to regroup and fight on. Don’t believe us? Studies have shown that meditation can combat depression if you do it a couple of times a week. It also helps you maintain a positive look in life, which is important if you want to avoid such an illness.

Exercise and Healthy Diet

People who live inactive lives and continue to consume unhealthy food are more likely to get depressed. They start to create a figure they hate, which affects their overall mental state. Moreover, they place themselves in a position where they can’t help themselves.

You should start doing activities that’ll help you sweat a bit as early as now. You can make this a way to socialize by picking up your favorite sport and playing with other people.

Eating healthily isn’t about eating food you don’t like. You can certainly still do that, but make sure that you’re not going overboard with it. Make sure to keep an eye out for what you eat and how much you eat it. It’s good to consume your favorite meal once in a while without feeling guilty about it, but make sure that you’re not doing it every day of your life.

Getting Help

Personal Home Care

It can be tough to have your relatives and friends be with you all the time. So don’t be afraid to get good home nursing care as you get older. The interpersonal relationship you can build from such care can help you alleviate loneliness. This can help you combat depression and all sorts of mental illnesses. It will also ensure that you can get some positive social interaction when your loved ones aren’t around.

Building a Strong Social Support System
man being embraced by his support system

Your social support system will make a difference in your life as you grow older. A strong social support system can easily prevent persistent depression more than anything else for many mental health experts. So make sure you start investing your time as early as now into building a strong social support system because you’ll certainly need it in the future.

Our mental health is as important as our physical health, and both deteriorate as we grow older. So we must keep an eye out on both as much as possible. It’s the best way to avoid depression and keep a healthy lifestyle free from mental illness.

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