Thursday 10th October is World Mental Health Day

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By Private Psychiatry | Tuesday, October 08, 2013, 13:04

The theme this year is "Mental Health and Older People". When thinking about the mental health of older adults, many people think of dementia and associated conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.  However, there are other mental health issues older people can develop, many of which are easily treated.

One of the most common mental illnesses in young and old alike is depression and it is estimated by the Mental Health Foundation that between 10 and 16% of people over 65 have depression with up to 4% suffering from severe depression.  Living alone, bereavement or declining physical health can all contribute and, while some sadness is normal, symptoms such as loss of energy, lack of sleep and loss of motivation to follow pursuits previously enjoyed can all indicate depression.  

Treatment takes the form of the three "T's", time, talking and possibly tablets.  However, antidepressant medication can take longer to work in older people and talking therapies must take into account ailments such as poor hearing and physical problems.  Other treatments include socialising and some physical exercise.

It is important that any symptoms of mental illness displayed by an older adult are not merely attributed to the ageing process. See a GP for an accurate diagnosis and onward referral for the appropriate treatment.

Dr Adrian Winbow of Private Psychiatry, who holds a weekly clinic in Sevenoaks has had over 30 years of experience in treating individuals suffering from depression and other mental health conditions associated with older age, such as anxiety and panic disorders.  Visit www.privatepsychiatry.co.uk for more information. 

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