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Common Questions About Depression Past 50

3 minutes to read

01/25/2019

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by certain negative emotions that interfere with your quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, around eight percent of American adults age 20 and over had depression during any given two-week period between 2013 and 2016.

Depression is a very real illness, but in too many cases, older men don't seek treatment, instead of suffering in silence. This is partly due to our 50-plus generation, which grew up with a deep stigma surrounding mental illness, and partly due to our sex, which tends to believe that getting help is a sign of weakness or that depression is "all in your head." But neither of these things are true.

You may notice that younger people talk about their mental health much more openly than older folks do. That's because modern medicine acknowledges the mind-body connection and has sought to de-stigmatize mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, which can take a major toll on your physical health and wellbeing. Here are some common questions older men have about depression.

How do I know whether I'm depressed?

Depression isn't the same for everyone. Not everyone will experience all the symptoms of depression, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of depression in men include:

  • Feelings of anger, aggressiveness, irritability, restlessness, and anxiousness.
  • Feeling empty, hopeless, or sad.
  • A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Feeling tired more often than you should.
  • Engaging in substance abuse or high-risk behaviors.
  • Having suicidal thoughts.
  • A reduced sex drive or difficulties with performance.
  • Inability to concentrate, complete tasks, or converse easily with others.
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems.
  • Unexplained pains, headaches, and digestive problems.

In addition to brain chemistry, risk factors for depression include:

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Having a medical illness or chronic illness.
  • A history of mental illness.
  • Some prescription and over the counter medications.
  • Chronic stress.
  • A history of trauma.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.

Why can't I snap out of it?

Depression isn't a choice. It's a medical illness related to brain function, and it can happen to anyone. You can't just will yourself to be happy any more than you can will yourself not to have diabetes. As a medical illness, depression typically requires medical treatment which, like treatments for diabetes and heart disease, will typically include a combination of lifestyle changes, talk therapy, medication, and complementary therapies like meditation and biofeedback.

Is depression really treatable?

Depression is highly treatable. Most people who seek treatment for depression show major improvements in as few as three weeks. Ideally, treatment will include talk therapy, which helps you change dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns and develop coping skills for long-term improvements in symptoms. A wide range of medications are used to treat depression as well.

Will it get worse if I don't treat it?

Depression won't necessarily grow worse if it's left untreated, and in fact, it may loosen its grip on its own, over time. But it can grow worse, and it can worsen your quality of life. It can also worsen a wide range of health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Can I overcome depression without going on medication?

In many cases, depending on the cause and severity of your depression, you can overcome it without medication, but it takes some work. Harvard Medical School reports that exercise is an effective treatment for depression. For some people, exercise works as well as antidepressants, although severe depression may not respond to exercise only.

Eating a healthy, omega-3 rich diet can also help reduce symptoms of depression and give you more energy. Probiotics can help improve gut health, which may be connected to depression. Supplements can help, too.

Prostavol Brain Support contains powerful, research-based ingredients that are known to enhance concentration and memory and improve mood and energy levels. Complementary treatments like meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy may also be used to help treat depression.

If you believe you have depression, talk to your doctor, and work out a holistic plan of attack to treat it and improve your quality of life by leaps and bounds. You owe it to yourself to be as well as you can be in body, mind, and spirit.

Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/... https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exerc...

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