by Jerome Reid | 8:24 am

Behavioral Health at Any Age: No One Needs to Struggle Alone

Many areas of behavioral health can be something of a mystery to the general public. Myths and misconceptions about mental health and substance use are often significant obstacles to looking out for the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Talking about suicide does NOT plant the idea in someone’s head. Many mental health conditions are preventable. Depression is NOT a normal part of aging.

Let’s focus on that last one. It’s worth repeating; experiencing feelings of depression is not a given as we grow older. However, behavioral health problems like depression often go undiagnosed in older adults.

Older adults as well as their loved ones and even their healthcare providers sometimes dismiss symptoms of depression as “normal” signs of frailty – inevitably, our bodies grow physically weaker as we age. However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)notes that many equivocate symptoms of depression with the physical weaknesses of aging, leading them to ignore these indicators of a potential mental health issue.

Others believe that feelings of depression are just the natural result of changes in life that typically happen to older adults. Major life events more common to older adults – such as retirement, the death of a loved one, or moving out of the family home – can be stressors that impact our behavioral health.

Facing the loss of someone or something important to us, we all feel sadness at times, but such episodes need not necessarily lead to depression. In fact, “many older adults will eventually adjust to the changes. But some people will have more trouble adjusting,” says the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Being unable to grieve and move on to prior feelings after a loss may be a sign of depression – in individuals of any age.

So What IS Different About Depression in Older Adults?

  • Just as symptoms of depression may differ between women and men, older adults may experience a different range of symptoms than younger individuals. Memory problems, confusion, vague complaints of pain, and/or delusions (“fixed false beliefs”) can indicate depression in older adults in addition to more typical symptoms such as loss of appetite, inability to sleep, or irritability (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)).
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)reports that depression is more common in those who have another illness, and “we know that about 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 50% have two or more.” This higher likelihood of having a physical illness puts older adults at greater risk of depression.
  • For older adults, the interplay of mental and physical health issues works both ways – not only does the presence of some chronic illnesses increase the likelihood of experiencing a behavioral health condition, but some mental health problems like depression – if untreated – can increase risk for heart disease, suppress the immune system, and elevate the danger of infection (NAMI).
  • The World Health Organization points out that while older adults may experience the stressors common to everyone that can weigh against behavioral health, they may also experience stressors unique to them. Reduced mobility, chronic pain, bereavement, change in socioeconomic status due to retirement, and frailty or other health problems are all additional factors that can have a negative impact on the mental health or substance use of older adults.

Closing the “Treatment Gap”

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) describes a “treatment gap:” while at least 1 in 4 older adults experiences some mental health problem, two-thirds of those individuals do not receive the treatment they need. The first step in connecting those struggling with their behavioral health to treatment and recovery options is to identify the issue.

A great place to start if you’re worried about your mental health or substance use – or that of a loved one – is with a quick, anonymous online behavioral health screening. In about two minutes, you can find out if what you’re experiencing is consistent with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other behavioral health conditions. If you’re concerned about a loved one – regardless of their age – encourage them to take a screening. No one needs to struggle alone.

If you or a loved one needs immediate mental health or addiction support, do not hesitate to call your insurance company or family doctor, or call 888-545-2600 if you have Medicaid coverage. You can find additional resources that support older adult mental health here.

If your loved one is ever in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the word, “ACT” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741

Author: MindWise Innovations, a Healthy Minds Philly screening partner.

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by Jerome Reid | 4:07 am

How To Select The Best Chiropractor

4 Signs You Should See a Chiropractor | U.S. News

Chiropractic is a profession with a wide variety of practice philosophies and techniques, which makes it a challenge to select a chiropractor who is most compatible for an individual. Because the chiropractic treatment includes hands-on procedures, consideration must be given for both the preference of treatment style as well as the rapport with the chiropractor.

This article outlines questions to ask when interviewing a doctor of chiropractic and provides guidelines for what to expect of chiropractic care. It also highlights some red flags that may indicate questionable treatment and/or practice management approaches.advertisement

Collecting Recommendations

One place to start is to ask a primary care physician, physical therapist, or spine specialist for recommendations of chiropractors who they view as competent and trustworthy. One way to phrase this question is: “If someone in your family needed a chiropractor, who would you recommend?” However, many medical professionals lack regular interaction with chiropractors and therefore may not be able to provide a recommendation.

It also helps to ask friends, co-workers, and neighbors for recommendations. While these recommendations can be valuable, keep in mind that one person’s definition of the best chiropractor may be quite different from another person’s definition. It is important to find a chiropractor who can meet an individual’s specific needs.

In general, a chiropractor who is recommended by multiple people is likely to be reliable.

Interviewing a Chiropractor

474,526 Female Doctor Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

Before starting treatment, it is usually best to conduct a telephone interview or request an in-office consultation to learn more about the chiropractor, the clinic, and techniques used. The treating chiropractor will typically request a personal consultation to discuss these details.

For most people, it is important to feel comfortable with the chiropractor and to have an overall positive experience at the clinic. Feeling comfortable is relative and depends on personal preferences, including details such as how long a patient may typically have to wait in the waiting room or the location of the chiropractor’s office.

Questions to consider about rapport and experience with a chiropractor and/or clinic staff during an initial interview may include one or more of the following:

  1. Is the chiropractor friendly and courteous?
  2. Does the patient feel comfortable talking with the chiropractor?
  3. Does the chiropractor fully answer all questions asked by the patient?
  4. Does the chiropractor listen to the patient’s complete explanation of symptoms and treatment concerns/preferences?
  5. How many years has the chiropractor been in practice?

See What to Expect at the First Chiropractic Consultation

Another consideration is whether the chiropractor has a specific undergraduate or post-graduate specialty. While not necessary, some chiropractors pursue post-graduate programs in various specialties, such as orthopedics, sports medicine, rehabilitation, neurology, or nutrition.

See Chiropractor Educational Requirementsadvertisement

Background Research

Questions to Ask Your Chiropractor

Patients may want to research if there are any disciplinary actions against the chiropractor. This information is available from each state’s chiropractic regulation and licensing board, which can usually be found on the state’s website.

Patients can also check to determine if their chiropractor’s college is accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education.First Chiropractic Exam Video

Selecting any health care professional for treatment is something that should be done with care. Do not feel compelled to be treated by the first chiropractor interviewed. Many people interview several chiropractors before selecting one they feel is well suited to treat their condition.

The bottom line is that the chiropractor’s role is to recommend the course of care for the patient, and it is the patient’s decision whether or not to accept that doctor’s recommendations. Patients should never feel like a doctor is pressuring them into a treatment or payment decision. Contact us for more information.

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by Jerome Reid | 6:53 am

Anxiety disorders

About anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health problems. They include generalised anxiety disorders, social phobias, specific phobias (for example, agoraphobia and claustrophobia), and panic disorders. Depression is often related to anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are common mental health problems that affect many people. Approximately 25% of the population have an anxiety disorder that warrants treatment at some time in their life and up to another 25% have less severe anxieties such as fears of spider and snakes.

Not all anxiety is a disorder

Everyone experiences anxiety and fear at times – these are normal and helpful human emotions that help us deal with danger. However, some people experience excessive and irrational anxiety and worries that become ongoing and distressing, and that interfere with their daily lives. This may indicate an anxiety disorder. Often there appears to be no obvious or logical reason for the way the person feels. This may make an anxiety disorder even more worrying to the sufferer.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders

The main features of an anxiety disorder are fears or thoughts that are chronic (constant) and distressing and that interfere with daily living. Other symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include:

  • Panic or anxiety attacks or a fear of these attacks
  • Physical anxiety reactions – for example trembling, sweating, faintness, rapid heartbeat, difficulties breathing or nausea
  • Avoidance behaviour – a person may go to extreme lengths to avoid a situation that they think could bring on anxiety or panic.

Panic attacks are a common symptom

A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense terror that may occur in certain situations or for no apparent reason. A panic attack does not mean a person is necessarily suffering an anxiety disorder. However, a panic attack is a common feature of each type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms of a panic attack may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Choking
  • Nausea.

The cause of panic attacks is unknown, but they may be related to a chemical response in the brain, caused by actual threatening or stressful events or by thinking about stressful events. The brain response leads to physiological changes in the body, such as shallow breathing and rapid heartbeat.

Panic attacks can be frightening. Some people say they feel like they are going to die or go crazy. People affected by panic attacks may avoid situations in which they think attacks might occur. In some cases, this may lead to the development of other anxiety disorders including agoraphobia.

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety becomes a disorder when it’s irrational, excessive and when it interferes with a person’s ability to function in daily life. Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Social phobias – fear of social situations
  • Specific phobias – for example a fear of open spaces (agoraphobia) or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia)
  • Panic disorders – frequent and debilitating panic attacks.

Generalised anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety is excessive anxiety and constant worry about many things. The focus of the anxiety might be family or friends, health, work, money or forgetting important appointments. A person may be diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder if:

  • The anxiety and worry have been present most days over a six-month period
  • The person finds it difficult to control their anxiety.

Social phobias

People with social phobia are afraid of being negatively judged or evaluated by others. This leads to fear of doing something that may humiliate them in public – for example public speaking, using public toilets, eating and drinking in public, writing in public, or any social encounters such as parties or workplaces.

Some social phobia sufferers may only fear one type of situation. Others may be concerned about several types of situations. This can lead them to avoid the feared situations, which can then lead to severe isolation and avoiding people and activities they usually enjoy.

Specific phobias

A person with a specific phobia has a persistent and irrational fear of a particular object or situation. They may fear animals, places or people. Fear of the object or situation is so severe that a person may experience physical symptoms and panic attacks. Fears may include dogs, blood, storms, spiders or other objects or situations but, in all cases, the anxiety is both excessive and interfering.

The adult phobia sufferer usually knows that their fear is excessive or unreasonable. However, their need to avoid the object, place or person can significantly restrict their life.

Panic disorders

Panic or anxiety attacks are common. Panic disorders are less common, affecting about 2% of the population. For a person to be diagnosed with a panic disorder, they would usually have had at least four panic attacks each month over an extended period of time. Often panic attacks may not be related to a situation but come on spontaneously.

Panic disorder may be diagnosed if panic attacks are frequent and if there’s a strong and persistent fear of another attack occurring.

Anxiety disorders can have serious effects

An anxiety disorder may lead to social isolation and clinical depression, and can impair a person’s ability to work, study and do routine activities. It may also hurt relationships with friends, family and colleagues. It’s common for depression and anxiety to happen at the same time. Depression can be a serious illness with a high risk of self-harm and suicide.

Recovery is possible with treatment

Recovery from an anxiety disorder is possible with the right treatment and support. Effective treatments for anxiety disorders may include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – aims to change patterns of thinking, beliefs and behaviours that may trigger anxiety.
  • Exposure therapy – involves gradually exposing a person to situations that trigger anxiety using a fear hierarchy: this is called systematic desensitisation.
  • Anxiety management and relaxation techniques – for example deep muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises and counselling.
  • Medication – this may include antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

Where to get help

You can contact us for more information.

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by Jerome Reid | 1:02 am

Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Important for Senior Health

Senior Health: Tips for Successful Aging

Over the years, it is easy to forget about exercise when it’s not routine. Remaining sedentary over life can lead to metabolic disorders and other diseases associated with physical inactivity. A recent study suggested that about 67 percent of the older population is sedentary for at least 8.5 hours each day, suggesting a need to improve activity levels for senior health.

Exercise for elderly people should be something performed regularly, and making it fun and a routine can help in the long term. Moreover, there are numerous health benefits the older adult can receive from long-term exercise. Following are 10 reasons seniors should continue to exercise.

Monitoring Senior Health Issues in Springtime | Philips Lifeline ®
  1. Arthritis: Exercise is one of the most crucial options for arthritis management. Regular activity helps lubricate the joints and can help reduce overall pain and stiffness that is often present among individuals with arthritis. Moreover, obesity is a risk factor for the disease, and increasing physical activity levels can help better manage the debilitating symptoms of arthritis. (Here’s another NIFS blog post about exercise and arthritis.)
  2. Heart disease: Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about one in every four deaths is attributed to heart disease. More people exercising later in life can help reduce the number of individuals with heart disease through the management of blood pressure and blood glucose, and decreasing LDL cholesterol.
  3. Metabolic Dysfunction (type II diabetes and obesity): Type II diabetes and obesity are two closely related diseases in which the body is in metabolic dysfunction. Exercise can help maintain proper body weight and help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels to make the body more efficient.
  4. Cancer: Exercise has been shown to help improve overall cancer risk among a variety of different forms of cancer. Studies have shown a 30 to 40 percent reduction in breast cancer risk among women who perform moderate to regular exercise.
  5. Hypertension: Exercise can help lower systolic blood pressure significantly through moderate-intensity physical activity. Try breaking up exercise into three bouts throughout the day lasting for at least 10 minutes each to receive blood pressure–lowering effects.
  6. Depression: Exercise can have a beneficial effect on personal mood. Studies suggest that group exercise classes among older adults can help reduce symptoms of depression by 30 percent or more in exercising older adults. The modest improvement in depressive symptoms can help maintain an overall greater vitality later in life and help prevent negative feelings or thoughts that are common with aging.
  7. Dementia: Dementia is a disabling condition affecting many older adults. With a wide range of mental disorders categorized as dementia, there is a great need to understand how to prevent the condition. Exercise is one prevention strategy that can help slow the mental decline. A recent study showed a 37 percent reduced risk and a 66 percent reduction in risk of dementia when older adults performed moderate-intensity exercise, suggesting every adult ought to exercise to help lower the risk of mental decline and to help prevent mental disability later in life.
  8. Quality of life: Maintaining functional independence is something many older adults want. A regular exercise inclusive of strength and balance training can help accomplish this. Aim to be physically active for 30 minutes every day and to strength train at least two non-consecutive days per week.
  9. Insomnia: Certain medications and life events can prevent the body from proper sleep. Higher levels of physical activity can help exhaust the body enough to place it in a position for restful and lasting sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise two hours before bed to obtain these benefits, and aim to meet the daily activity recommendations.
  10. All-cause mortality: Exercise is known to reduce death from all causes. In fact, a recent study showed a 30 to 80 percent reduction in all-cause mortality when individuals exercised at an intensity level greater than 4 METS, suggesting that exercise can help delay premature death from various causes.
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by Jerome Reid | 5:17 am

Seven Tips for Good Eye Health

Seven Tips for Good Eye Health

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to take our eyesight for granted. But good vision isn’t a guarantee. Protect your vision by making smart decisions every day with these quick tips:

  1. Watching lots of movies? Sit at a distance equivalent to at least five times the width of your TV screen.
  2. Include eye healthy foods in your meal Foods containing vitamin C (papayas, red bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges) or antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, kale, and broccoli) can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  3. Get regular…with your eye exams! There is no better way to protect your vision than an eye exam, as many eye diseases have no easily detectable symptoms. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye exam between ages six and nine months, and annually after that. Adults should have eye exams every two years, or at the direction of their optometrist.
  4. Butt out! Smoking contributes to a number of eye related health issues, learn more here.
  5. Take 20. Take a 20 second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
  6. Protect your baby blues (or greens or browns). Wear proper protective eyewear when undertaking major indoor or outdoor work, and wear sunglasses outside even when the sun isn’t shining – UV rays are harmful to your eyes year round.
  7. Have the conversation. If you have eye irritation from allergies, inflammation, infection or injury, don’t assume it will go away on its own. Unusual visual symptoms can require treatment to resolve, or, in some cases, indicate a more serious vision problem. For eye care emergencies, be sure to ask your optometrist if emergency appointments are available – it’s often faster than going to the ER.
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by Jerome Reid | 3:22 am

Watch Your Words: Why Mental Health Awareness Should be Year Round

mental health awareness

Since 1949, May has been known as Mental Health Awareness Month.  Each year, when May is over, I wonder why we’re not encouraged to be aware of our mental health all year, every year, just as we are for our so-called physical health. Given all we know about the effects of anxiety and depression on our bodies and immune systems, this question is vital.  As Harvard Health pointed out in 2008, “Anxiety has now been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.” These conditions are no joke, so why don’t we take mental health more seriously?

The answer, in part, can be a lack of understanding and sometimes fear.  Both are reflected in the way we routinely belittle mental health, as part of our daily lexicon.  How many times have you heard “I literally had a panic attack”, “She’s so bipolar”, or “He’s a little OCD, ha ha”?  If you’ve never struggled with a mental health issue, you may not give these phrases a second thought.  Those who do struggle, can get the message to battle in silence, given a lack understanding and compassion for their situation.  This is particularly true of the most vulnerable in our midst, teens and tweens, who are often dealing with emerging mental health disorders. 

Two of my adolescent clients with OCD, recently shared frustration about their Health Classes, in separate schools. Both teachers initiated discussions about people who are “a little OCD.”  These conversations lacked any clinical information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  For these clients, OCD meant twice the time to complete homework, up at night cleaning the house, and disturbing, unwanted thoughts of harm coming to their parents.  Their teachers missed a valuable opportunity for kids to learn about the true complexities of a mental health issue.  This type of casual discussion can reinforce the notion that these are not serious concerns, with possible physical ramifications, if left untreated.

Since 1949, May has been known as Mental Health Awareness Month.  Each year, when May is over, I wonder why we’re not encouraged to be aware of our mental health all year, every year, just as we are for our so-called physical health. Given all we know about the effects of anxiety and depression on our bodies and immune systems, this question is vital.  As Harvard Health pointed out in 2008, “Anxiety has now been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions.” These conditions are no joke, so why don’t we take mental health more seriously?

The answer, in part, can be a lack of understanding and sometimes fear.  Both are reflected in the way we routinely belittle mental health, as part of our daily lexicon.  How many times have you heard “I literally had a panic attack”, “She’s so bipolar”, or “He’s a little OCD, ha ha”?  If you’ve never struggled with a mental health issue, you may not give these phrases a second thought.  Those who do struggle, can get the message to battle in silence, given a lack understanding and compassion for their situation.  This is particularly true of the most vulnerable in our midst, teens and tweens, who are often dealing with emerging mental health disorders. 

Two of my adolescent clients with OCD, recently shared frustration about their Health Classes, in separate schools. Both teachers initiated discussions about people who are “a little OCD.”  These conversations lacked any clinical information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  For these clients, OCD meant twice the time to complete homework, up at night cleaning the house, and disturbing, unwanted thoughts of harm coming to their parents.  Their teachers missed a valuable opportunity for kids to learn about the true complexities of a mental health issue.  This type of casual discussion can reinforce the notion that these are not serious concerns, with possible physical ramifications, if left untreated.

Just as we seem immune to comments about OCD, we can be equally detached from commonplace phrases like “worry wart”, “wallflower” and “scaredy cat.”  All of which minimize the effects of living with untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Specific Phobias. When we trivialize these issues, we throw them in the category of personality traits, to the realm of annoying quirks, without the possibility of change, rather than life altering issues, that are highly treatable with the proper help.As mental health professionals, individuals who fight every day to manage symptoms, and those who love and support them, we can work to slowly turn the tide.  By sharing with people, we trust.  By gently, and thoughtfully educating our doctors, teachers, spiritual leaders, family and friends, we can make those around us more sensitive, and aware, all year round, of the importance of how we all talk about mental health, and how critical it is to our health in general, mind, body and spirit.

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by Jerome Reid | 3:37 am

Mental health of older adults

10 common elderly health issues - Vital Record

Older adults, those aged 60 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce. While most have good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time.

The problem

The world’s population is ageing rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s older adults is estimated to almost double from about 12% to 22%. In absolute terms, this is an expected increase from 900 million to 2 billion people over the age of 60. Older people face special physical and mental health challenges which need to be recognized.

Over 20% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder (excluding headache disorders) and 6.6% of all disability (disability adjusted life years-DALYs) among people over 60 years is attributed to mental and neurological disorders. These disorders in older people account for 17.4% of Years Lived with Disability (YLDs). The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression, which affect approximately 5% and 7% of the world’s older population, respectively. Anxiety disorders affect 3.8% of the older population, substance use problems affect almost 1% and around a quarter of deaths from self-harm are among people aged 60 or above. Substance abuse problems among older people are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.

Mental health problems are under-identified by health-care professionals and older people themselves, and the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help.

Risk factors for mental health problems among older adults

There may be multiple risk factors for mental health problems at any point in life. Older people may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability. For example, older adults may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty or other health problems, for which they require some form of long-term care. In addition, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, or a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement. All of these stressors can result in isolation, loneliness or psychological distress in older people, for which they may require long-term care.

Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are healthy. Additionally, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

Older adults are also vulnerable to elder abuse – including physical, verbal, psychological, financial and sexual abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious losses of dignity and respect. Current evidence suggests that 1 in 6 older people experience elder abuse. Elder abuse can lead not only to physical injuries, but also to serious, sometimes long-lasting psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety.

Dementia and depression among older people as public health issues

Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. It mainly affects older people, although it is not a normal part of ageing.

It is estimated that 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. The total number of people with dementia is projected to increase to 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050.

There are significant social and economic issues in terms of the direct costs of medical, social and informal care associated with dementia. Moreover, physical, emotional and economic pressures can cause great stress to families and carers. Support is needed from the health, social, financial and legal systems for both people with dementia and their carers.

Depression

Depression can cause great suffering and leads to impaired functioning in daily life. Unipolar depression occurs in 7% of the general older population and it accounts for 5.7% of YLDs among those over 60 years old. Depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary care settings. Symptoms are often overlooked and untreated because they co-occur with other problems encountered by older adults.

Older people with depressive symptoms have poorer functioning compared to those with chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, hypertension or diabetes. Depression also increases the perception of poor health, the utilization of health care services and costs.

Treatment and care strategies to address mental health needs of older people

It is important to prepare health providers and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations, including:

  • training for health professionals in providing care for older people;
  • preventing and managing age-associated chronic diseases including mental, neurological and substance use disorders;
  • designing sustainable policies on long-term and palliative care; and
  • developing age-friendly services and settings.

Health promotion

The mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting Active and Healthy Ageing. Mental health-specific health promotion for older adults involves creating living conditions and environments that support wellbeing and allow people to lead a healthy life. Promoting mental health depends largely on strategies to ensure that older people have the necessary resources to meet their needs, such as:

  • providing security and freedom;
  • adequate housing through supportive housing policy;
  • social support for older people and their caregivers;
  • health and social programmes targeted at vulnerable groups such as those who live alone and rural populations or who suffer from a chronic or relapsing mental or physical illness;
  • programmes to prevent and deal with elder abuse; and
  • community development programmes.

Interventions

Prompt recognition and treatment of mental, neurological and substance use disorders in older adults is essential. Both psychosocial interventions and medicines are recommended.

There is no medication currently available to cure dementia but much can be done to support and improve the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers and families, such as:

  • early diagnosis, in order to promote early and optimal management;
  • optimizing physical and mental health, functional ability and well-being;
  • identifying and treating accompanying physical illness;
  • detecting and managing challenging behaviour; and
  • providing information and long-term support to carers.

Mental health care in the community

Good general health and social care is important for promoting older people’s health, preventing disease and managing chronic illnesses. Training all health providers in working with issues and disorders related to ageing is therefore important. Effective, community-level primary mental health care for older people is crucial. It is equally important to focus on the long-term care of older adults suffering from mental disorders, as well as to provide caregivers with education, training and support.

An appropriate and supportive legislative environment based on internationally accepted human rights standards is required to ensure the highest quality of services to people with mental illness and their caregivers.

WHO response

WHO supports governments in the goal of strengthening and promoting mental health in older adults and to integrate effective strategies into policies and plans. The Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2016. One of the objectives of this global strategy is to align the health systems to the needs of older populations, for mental as well as physical health.…

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by Jerome Reid | 4:23 am

What Are the Benefits of Being an Optometrist?

What Does an Optometrist Do?

Optometrists provide vision care to individuals, examining their sight, depth perception and ability to focus while also testing for glaucoma and other eye-related conditions. In addition, optometrists can prescribe glasses or contacts and recommend proper eye care.

Demand

Due to a population that is both aging and growing, employment for optometrists is expected to grow a whopping 24 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook. Job growth will also occur as more health plans include vision insurance and as more optometrists retire.

Pay

The average optometrist who works in an office makes more than $96,000 as of 2008, and self-employed optometrists averaged about $175,000 in annual income in 2007, according to the American Optometric Association. At first, optometrists who have their own practice make less than salaried optometrists, but eventually they make more.

Hours

Unlike some doctors who work long nights, weekends, and have to be on call every so often, optometrists typically work a fairly standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, Monday through Friday. Likewise, their offices are generally well kept and comfortable, and most optometrists have ample vacation and sick time as well.

5 Best Optometrists in Melbourne - Top Rated Optometrists

Contact us for more information.

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by Jerome Reid | 6:24 am

Mental health of older adults

Coronavirus Pandemic Exposes Gap in Mental Health Services for Seniors |  Diverse Elders Coalition

Key facts

  • Globally, the population is ageing rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%.
  • Mental health and well-being are as important in older age as at any other time of life.
  • Mental and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total disability (DALYs) for this age group.
  • Approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.

Older adults, those aged 60 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce. While most have good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time.

The problem

The world’s population is ageing rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s older adults is estimated to almost double from about 12% to 22%. In absolute terms, this is an expected increase from 900 million to 2 billion people over the age of 60. Older people face special physical and mental health challenges which need to be recognized.

Over 20% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder (excluding headache disorders) and 6.6% of all disability (disability adjusted life years-DALYs) among people over 60 years is attributed to mental and neurological disorders. These disorders in older people account for 17.4% of Years Lived with Disability (YLDs). The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression, which affect approximately 5% and 7% of the world’s older population, respectively. Anxiety disorders affect 3.8% of the older population, substance use problems affect almost 1% and around a quarter of deaths from self-harm are among people aged 60 or above. Substance abuse problems among older people are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.

Mental health problems are under-identified by health-care professionals and older people themselves, and the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help.

Risk factors for mental health problems among older adults

5 Myths About Elderly Mental Health

There may be multiple risk factors for mental health problems at any point in life. Older people may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability. For example, older adults may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty or other health problems, for which they require some form of long-term care. In addition, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, or a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement. All of these stressors can result in isolation, loneliness or psychological distress in older people, for which they may require long-term care.

Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are healthy. Additionally, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

Older adults are also vulnerable to elder abuse – including physical, verbal, psychological, financial and sexual abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious losses of dignity and respect. Current evidence suggests that 1 in 6 older people experience elder abuse. Elder abuse can lead not only to physical injuries, but also to serious, sometimes long-lasting psychological consequences, including depression and anxiety.

Dementia and depression among older people as public health issues

Dementia

Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. It mainly affects older people, although it is not a normal part of ageing.

It is estimated that 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. The total number of people with dementia is projected to increase to 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050.

There are significant social and economic issues in terms of the direct costs of medical, social and informal care associated with dementia. Moreover, physical, emotional and economic pressures can cause great stress to families and carers. Support is needed from the health, social, financial and legal systems for both people with dementia and their carers.

Depression

Depression can cause great suffering and leads to impaired functioning in daily life. Unipolar depression occurs in 7% of the general older population and it accounts for 5.7% of YLDs among those over 60 years old. Depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary care settings. Symptoms are often overlooked and untreated because they co-occur with other problems encountered by older adults.

Older people with depressive symptoms have poorer functioning compared to those with chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, hypertension or diabetes. Depression also increases the perception of poor health, the utilization of health care services and costs.

Treatment and care strategies to address mental health needs of older people

It is important to prepare health providers and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations, including:

  • training for health professionals in providing care for older people;
  • preventing and managing age-associated chronic diseases including mental, neurological and substance use disorders;
  • designing sustainable policies on long-term and palliative care; and
  • developing age-friendly services and settings.

Health promotion

The mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting Active and Healthy Ageing. Mental health-specific health promotion for older adults involves creating living conditions and environments that support wellbeing and allow people to lead a healthy life. Promoting mental health depends largely on strategies to ensure that older people have the necessary resources to meet their needs, such as:

  • providing security and freedom;
  • adequate housing through supportive housing policy;
  • social support for older people and their caregivers;
  • health and social programmes targeted at vulnerable groups such as those who live alone and rural populations or who suffer from a chronic or relapsing mental or physical illness;
  • programmes to prevent and deal with elder abuse; and
  • community development programmes.

Interventions

Prompt recognition and treatment of mental, neurological and substance use disorders in older adults is essential. Both psychosocial interventions and medicines are recommended.

There is no medication currently available to cure dementia but much can be done to support and improve the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers and families, such as:

  • early diagnosis, in order to promote early and optimal management;
  • optimizing physical and mental health, functional ability and well-being;
  • identifying and treating accompanying physical illness;
  • detecting and managing challenging behaviour; and
  • providing information and long-term support to carers.

Mental health care in the community

Good general health and social care is important for promoting older people’s health, preventing disease and managing chronic illnesses. Training all health providers in working with issues and disorders related to ageing is therefore important. Effective, community-level primary mental health care for older people is crucial. It is equally important to focus on the long-term care of older adults suffering from mental disorders, as well as to provide caregivers with education, training and support.…

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by Jerome Reid | 5:49 am

Types of mental health issues and illnesses

62,182 Mental Health Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Mental illness is a general term for a group of illnesses that may include symptoms that can affect a person’s thinking, perceptions, mood or behaviour. Mental illness can make it difficult for someone to cope with work, relationships and other demands. The relationship between stress and mental illness is complex, but it is known that stress can worsen an episode of mental illness. Most people can manage their mental illness with medication, counselling or both.This page lists some of the more common mental health issues and mental illnesses.

Anxiety disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Causes and Risk Factors - Unique Mindcare

Anxiety disorders is a group of mental health disorders that includes generalised anxiety disorders, social phobias, specific phobias (for example, agoraphobia and claustrophobia), panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder. Untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to significant impairment on people’s daily lives.

For more information see: Anxiety disorders

Behavioural and emotional disorders in children

Students Behaviour in School | Child Behaviour Modification

Common behaviour disorders in children include oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Treatment for these mental health disorders can include therapy, education and medication.

For more information see: Behavioural disorders in children

Bipolar affective disorder

7 Signs Of Bipolar Affective Disorder Everyone Should Know - David Avocado  Wolfe

Bipolar affective disorder is a type of mood disorder, previously referred to as ‘manic depression’. A person with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of mania (elation) and depression. The person may or may not experience psychotic symptoms. The exact cause is unknown, but a genetic predisposition has been clearly established. Environmental stressors can also trigger episodes of this mental illness.

For more information see: Bipolar disorder

Depression

Recognizing and easing the physical symptoms of anxiety - Harvard Health

Depression is a mood disorder characterised by lowering of mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy. It is not just feeling sad. There are different types and symptoms of depression. There are varying levels of severity and symptoms related to depression. Symptoms of depression can lead to increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviours.

For more information see: Depression

Dissociation and dissociative disorders

29 Dissociative Identity Disorder Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Dissociation is a mental process where a person disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. Dissociative disorders include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder.

For more information see: Dissociation and dissociative disorders

Eating disorders

1,020 Eating Disorder Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia nervosa and other binge eating disorders. Eating disorders affect females and males and can have serious psychological and physical consequences.

For more information see: Eating disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of  America, ADAA

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. Obsessions are recurrent thoughts, images or impulses that are intrusive and unwanted. Compulsions are time-consuming and distressing repetitive rituals. Ttreatments include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and medications

For more information see: Obsessive compulsive disorder

Paranoia

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Paranoia is the irrational and persistent feeling that people are ‘out to get you’. Paranoia may be a symptom of conditions including paranoid personality disorder, delusional (paranoid) disorder and schizophrenia. Treatment for paranoiainclude medications and psychological support.

For more information see: Paranoia

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop as a response to people who have experienced any traumatic event. This can be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war-related events or torture, or natural disasters such as bushfires or floods.

For more information see: Post-traumatic stress disorder

Psychosis

A Girl With Psychotic Symptoms Of Schizophrenia Disorder Stock Vector -  Illustration of woman, vector: 208123239

People affected by psychosis can experience delusions, hallucinations and confused thinking.. Psychosis can occur in a number of mental illnesses, including drug-induced psychosis, schizophrenia and mood disorders. Medication and psychological support can relieve, or even eliminate, psychotic symptoms.

For more information see: Psychosis

Schizophrenia

1,662 Schizophrenia Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Schizophrenia is a complex psychotic disorder characterised by disruptions to thinking and emotions, and a distorted perception of reality. Symptoms of schizophrenia vary widely but may include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorder, social withdrawal, lack of motivation and impaired thinking and memory. People with schizophrenia have a high risk of suicide. Schizophrenia is not a split personality.

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