The Connection Between Aging and Depression
Retirement. Spending time with grandchildren. Traveling around the world. Relaxing on the sunny beach. Golfing on a weekday. Many aspects of growing old seem very appealing and idyllic. Growing old is an accomplishment – you have survived all the trials and tribulations that the world could throw at you. Not only did you endure, but also you managed to prosper and gain wisdom along the way. Growing old means you have succeeded at life.
For many, though, growing old is not so ideal. Aging brings with it a host of challenges, as your body and your mind transition into another stage of life. Some of the changes are physical, some are social and others are psychological. If the transformations cannot be managed effectively, new and unwanted symptoms will begin to present.
During older adulthood, depression commonly rears its head, even in individuals that have had no previous issues with it. You may find yourself feeling lonely, isolated, sad, anxious and apathetic. You may notice that you are more irritable, or that you do not like yourself as much as you once did.
Perhaps, depression is triggering unexplained aches and pains, or lessening your desire to bathe and get dressed in the morning. To a large degree, these feelings are common and expected, but that does not mean that you should sit idly by and accept them.
Instead of allowing depression to diminish your golden years, work to understand the sources of your depression. Once this is achieved you can begin modifying your life in ways that will relieve symptoms. It is true that the journey will be arduous, but when your quantity of time is limited, you must put emphasis on improving the quality.
The changes that occur as you age range from the clear and concrete, like grey hairs emerging from your head, to more hidden changes, like the decreased ability of your brain to produce and absorb the neurotransmitters that fight depression. Recognizing, identifying and understanding these factors allows you react in a manner is more likely to benefit your functioning. Here are some of the biggest factors contributing to depression in older adults.
Next page: ‘Contributing Factors’ continued.