HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY DISORDER (AGING)

                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

                                                Health Psychology Disorder (Aging)

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Introduction

The number of the aging population is increasing in the world as people above 65 years enter into retirement. As these people begin another stage of their life, it becomes challenging to maintain their consistent exercise regimen, which negatively affects their health.  Furthermore, the lack of proper nutrition and screening influences the progression of many diseases.  Health psychology disorders for the aging refer to mental disorders, mental illnesses, and psychiatric disorders which impairs an individual’s ability to function or behave in a particular way.  These disorders are part of mental health, which examines how a specific person thinks, feels, acts, or perceives.  It is essential to understand the aging, psychological disorders to develop the appropriate strategies.

Alzheimer’s disease

It is a progressive neurocognitive disease which slowly narrows or erodes a person’s learning, judgment, memory, and finally the inability to function well. Alzheimer is the major cause of Dementia in the elderly population; which poses a significant burden on both the victims and their families since it affects an individual’s behavior, mood, and thinking.  The main features of Alzheimer disease are poor judgment, deterioration in communication ability, impairment of the mind, and the inability to manipulate visual information. In extreme cases of Alzheimer, individuals experience restlessness and confusion. Alzheimer is commonly found in the aged population above 60 years but may begin in younger adults as 50 years. According to Heine & Browning (2014), Alzheimer is considered as a normal aging process, which is approximately 5% between people aged 65 and 75 years. Therefore, increased age is a risk associated with the development of Alzheimer disease.  The early signs and symptoms of this disease are the failure of forgetting important dates and events, misplacing items, and being confused about place or time.  The victims may also show mood behavior and personality changes, which limits their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.  Some of the symptoms are undiagnosed or unrecognized since they occur as part of healthy aging.

According to Delaney et al., (2010), Alzheimer disease is grouped as minor or major neurocognitive behavior.   A major Alzheimer condition is characterized by a progressive decline in learning and memory. The impairment limits the individual’s ability to function in their current occupation or interact with their friends. The mild stages of Alzheimer condition are associated with apathy or depression, while the moderate stage of this disease is linked to delusions or hallucinations. Apart from the aging risk factor, Alzheimer may be caused by the genetic transfer.  Aging parents having Alzheimer condition may transfer the disease to their siblings through genes mutations. Gene’s composition, like Presenilin-1 and apolipoprotein may increase the sibling’s chance of developing this condition.  According to Alzheimer’s disease resources, the proteins may stimulate chemical reactions in the brain, thereby inhibiting its ability to function correctly.  A family history of diseases like neuronal injury, high blood pressure, and head trauma may also be linked to the disease. Medical conditions like stroke, heart diseases, and high level of cholesterol may also raise the risk of developing Alzheimer disease.  

According to Heine & Browning (2014), Alzheimer disease is not treatable. Additionally, neither the impaired functions nor the disease’s progression can be corrected.  However, cholinesterase inhibitor drugs may be used to improve the judgment, thinking, and memory of the victim. The most common medications in this category include Galantamine, Exelon, and memantine. The disease can be managed by modifying the home environment of the victim and supporting the affected families with the necessary drugs. Behavioral medication can also be used to reduce confusion, mood, and personality behavior of the victims.

Dementia

It is abnormal degeneration of the brain, which results in changes in an individual’s ability to speak, thing, and even socialize in their activities. The early symptoms of this disease are the loss of memory caused by nutritional, medication, and depression problems. Dementia also develops at different levels in people (CAMH, 2019). Other signs include forgetting a friend’s name, forgetting the day of the week, and even a friend’s appointment.  Experiencing common mistakes like sentence construction or use of wrong words may also be linked to Dementia.  Impaired judgment inhibits the victim’s thinking ability, which influences the changes in their mood and behavior. It is also common to find people with Dementia experiencing personality changes like being irritable, fearful, and suspicious of themselves. Additionally, the victim's loose interest in carrying out essential and straightforward tasks in their daily lives.

Early detection of Dementia is vital in determining the specific type for the proper diagnosis. It also enables the family to prepare with the right resources, being part of the disease management. Through this, the victim gains independence and can connect with other people in society. According to CAMH (2019), there is no cure for Dementia, but keeping the brain active is the only way of reducing the impact. Being socially connected and learning new skills will help the victims to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Different parts of the brain are affected as dementia disease progresses. This results in a lot of changes, like the diminishing abilities to perform routine functions. It is also challenging to return most of the skills lost in this disease (CAMH, 2019). The main phases linked to Dementia include vascular, Lewy, and frontotemporal lobe. Just like Alzheimer, the risk of developing the disease increases with age.  Acknowledging that Dementia is untreatable is a positive way of managing the disease. Secondly, living physical active and healthy life may slow the progress.   

                                                           Depression

It causes great suffering and misery to the aging population. In some cases, it inhibits the normal functioning of their brains. Unipolar depression is known to occur in approximately 7% of adults above 60 years. In primary care settings, the disease is underrated and therefore, undiagnosed (CDC, 2019). Many symptoms of this disease are overlooked and untreated since they match with other signs in the older population. Depression in adults increases the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetics, high blood pressure, stroke, lung, and heart diseases. Depression is so costly since it consumes both the individual and family resources, thereby leaving the community impoverished. The rate of depression increases with age as the individual encounters more issues in society. Over 80% of depression cases are treatable, but often, some of the conditions are ignored in adults.

The main strategies of managing depression in the aging population are through providing security and freedom to them. Providing social support provides them with an easy time of assessing health services (CDC, 2019). Community development programs make adults become actively engaged in their activities.  Training health professionals on how to provide care for the aging population will minimize the chances of developing depression. Preventing chronic diseases like high blood pressure will reduce substance use disorders.

 

 

                                                                        References

CAMH (2019) Dementia in Older Adults. Retrieved from:

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/guides-and-publications/dementia-in-older-adults

CDC (2019) The State of Mental Health and Aging in America. Retrieved from:

            https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health.pdf

Delaney P., Sahakyan L., Kelley C., Zimmerman C. (2010). Remembering to forget:

The amnesic effect of day dreamingPsychol. Sci21, 1036–1042. 10.1177/0956797610374739

Heine C., & Browning C. J. (2014). Mental health and dual sensory loss in older adults:

 A systematic review. Front. Aging Neurosci6:83. 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00083