When you feel depressed, your health can suffer. And when you feel ill, you can feel discouraged and isolated. How you feel physically usually affects how you feel emotionally, and vice versa. The two often seem to go hand-in-hand.
Unfortunately it is often easier to seek help for physical problems. Many seniors find that mental health issues get brushed aside or treated as less important. Many have difficulty in asking for support for common problems like depression and anxiety. But a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that caring for your mental health can be very important to your physical health.
Researchers studied 1,226 patients, of which 599 were diagnosed with some form of depression. This group was then divided into two groups. The first group received the usual primary care from a healthcare provider. The second group received primary care plus intervention from a depression care manager.
The researchers found that those in the second group were 33% less likely to die, and those in the second group who were dealing with significant depression were 45% more likely to live longer after getting support for depression.
What can cause depression? There are many different things which can affect your emotional health. Here are a few:
— Lack of social support: everyone needs help and interaction with other people on a regular basis; — Recent stressful life experiences: this might include the death of someone, having to move from your home or community, the loss of financial security, or the breakdown of family relationships; — Chronic medical condition: when your body is sick, you may feel depressed; — Nutritional deficiencies: if your diet is low in certain important vitamins and minerals, you can experience anxiety and depression.
What sort of help is available? — Talk therapy: you can speak with a therapist at regular appointments for a period of time; — Get the support of family and friends: reach out to those around you and try to stay connected; — Talk to your healthcare provider: make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need; — Get lots of support when dealing with a chronic condition: do whatever you can to ease the burden of dealing with sickness; — Try to stay involved in things you like to do: a group that meets regularly is an excellent choice, as it encourages your commitment and helps you to build a support network.