There are over two hundred recognized and classified forms of mental illness that can be developed at any age. They tend to be due to genetics, biochemical imbalances, and environmental factors such as excessive stress, or a combination.
Mental illness is a common, though often ignored, malady in older adults. The World Health Organization found that, as of 2013, approximately 15% of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder. Unfortunately, many people confuse symptoms of mental illness with normal signs of aging.
Mental illnesses are diseases that cause mild-to-severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands or routines. Common mental illnesses that are prevalent in the elderly include depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Just how prevalent are these illnesses? 6 million Americans over the age of 65 are affected by depression and as many as 5 million may have Alzheimer’s.
Four Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness to Watch for in Older Adults
Signs of this memory loss may include misplacing belongings, repeatedly asking for the same information or forgetting important dates.
Changes In Personal Care
A noticeable change in appearance might signify that a person is unable to successfully adhere to their former routines related to personal appearance.
Individuals suffering from mental illness often become socially withdrawn.
- Changes in Mood