Raising Awareness about Depression in Older Age

Blog Contributor Laura Chapman discusses prevention and treatment for depression in older age.

Not only can keeping fit give you a longer life expectancy, reduce your chances of heart disease and help make you look better, it can also help ease the symptoms of mental disorders, such as depression, and can even help prevent it happening in the first place.

Depression Prevention

Preventing mental illness is difficult, especially if you’re genetically predisposed to developing it. However, exercising can reduce your chances of becoming depressed. Getting outdoors, as well as moving more can not only promote the production of endorphins but it gives your brain a break. Stress is one of the main contributors of depression – adult life mounts up and, before you know it, your anxiety has taken over your brain and you can’t cope anymore. By taking some time out, either alone or with friends, you can separate yourself from the stress and sort through it better, all the while doing something to help your body and make you feel better about yourself.

Depression Treatment

If you’ve already developed depression, exercise can still be an incredibly effective method of treatment. The happy hormone – endorphin – is released when you exercise and this, over an extended period of time, can help combat the symptoms of the illness. Not only this, but exercise can help ease the other symptoms associated with depression; it can aid sleep, which is typically disrupted when depressed, improve appetite, stretch out tension, release anger and frustrating and even encourage you to be more social. It also gives you aims, goals and a purpose, something many suffering from depression feel they lack.

It’s important to note that, if you believe you’re suffering from depression, although exercise can help, you should still seek professional advice. Severe depression may need therapy, medication and even supervision. In addition, if you suffer from other conditions, such as an eating disorder like Anorexia Nervosa, exercise may actually be detrimental to your recovery, thus reinforcing the need for a professional opinion before embarking on an exercise regime.

Laura Chapman
Blog Contributor

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