4 Reasons to Care for Your Mental Health as You Age

Staying mentally healthy is just as important as keeping physically healthy. Mental health, at its basic level, is a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being. This includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Mental health affects how people think, feel, and act. It also helps to determine how individuals deal with stress, relate to others, and make choices. The most common types of mental health disorders include autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, phobias, Alzheimer’s disease, substance use disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, and mood disorders.

These disorders affect all segments of our society. For example, anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults 18 or older. Individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor. They are also six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

Many Americans are also affected by Alzheimer’s, another disease that affects a patient’s mental capacity. In 2020, it is estimated that 5.8 million Americans of all ages live with Alzheimer’s disease. Of people age 65 and older, 10% have Alzheimer’s disease. As you get older, there are many reasons that you want to care for your mental acuity. Here are a few of those reasons.

1. Mental health can affect your physical health.


Mental illness issues can have a big impact on your physical health. For instance, people who suffered from high levels of self-rate distress were 32% are more likely to have died from cancer. Depression has been associated with an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. Those afflicted by schizophrenia live with a higher risk of death from heart disease and three times the risk of death from respiratory disease.

Individuals who suffer from mental illness in many cases are unlikely to visit physicians, statistically speaking. Such routine visits can help with detecting many of the early signs of some of these ailments. With early detection, these conditions can be taken care of.

2. Not dealing with these issues early on can be damaging.


In many cases, some of the issues mentioned above can be tackled by seeking the help of a therapist or counselor. We’ve already spoken about how much mental disorders can affect your physical wellbeing. Add to that the mental stress which is often associated with mental based ailments, and the harm is doubled. Whether its therapy in DC or seeking out a counselor in Portland, getting a handle on treatment early helps to avoid such illnesses from becoming even more damaging.

3. You can avoid putting a strain on your family.


Mental illness doesn’t only harm you, it harms those you love as well. Having a loved one deal with your mental disorder can become very stressful and time-consuming for them. Though you are not purposely attempting to hurt them, sometimes those people who are caught in the sphere of a person dealing with a mental disorder can be mentally taxed.

One of the ways of avoiding this from happening is trying to find help for whatever disorder you’re dealing with early on. If say, in the case of someone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s, its best to see a doctor if you begin to show signs of senility. Seeking out such advanced treatment for dementia helps to get a better handle on tackling this mentally based disorder. This also provides your loved ones with a head start with finding ways to help you out.

If you or a loved one are showing symptoms of dementia or mental decline, it could be the sign of something more serious, especially for an older adult. Though aging is a common cause of dementia, symptoms of dementia can also be symptoms of Alzheimer’s and shouldn’t be ignored. Get tested by a doctor early if you begin to notice any cognitive decline or memory problems.

4. Dealing with mental issues makes you happier.


When you deal with those mental health issues which are damaging your life, you tend to be a bit happier. Living a happy life is something that all people want. Life will always have its ups and downs, but you don’t necessarily have to spend your entire existence in the down part. Seeking treatment for mental health issues can help a person to enjoy their life for years and years to come.