Recent studies show anxiety and depression could increase your chance of dementia. The hormonal and mental changes that come with depression and anxiety fundamentally alter how the body works, particularly your brain.
Knowing some of the issues surrounding depression and anxiety and some lifestyle habits can help you understand what’s going on and make the choices to reduce the chances of developing dementia later in life.
The Difference Between Men and Women
Some of the controversies exist over how men and women deal with anxiety and depression. It’s common knowledge that more women are diagnosed with anxiety and depression than men, and women are four times as likely to be prescribed medication.
Other studies show men and women experience anxiety and depression at equal rates, but men have their symptoms dismissed and women are over-medicated. Even though these same studies suspect women are over-diagnosed to avoid seeking an actual problem (which is another medical bias).
Some of the most impressive studies from Lancet Psychiatry assessed thousands of patients over all sorts of health, sex, age, and other lifestyle factors. It showed that people with depressive symptoms, regardless of other factors, had a higher risk of developing dementia.
What made the most significant difference in the various studies was the percentages of men versus women. In the study with more men, the findings were inconclusive to nonexistent. But, where women were included more often, showed a significant increase in dementia symptoms in people with depressive symptoms.
Other Factors That Increase Depression and Dementia
Anxiety and depression are not the only increased risk factors. A lot of your overall health depends on a mix of things.
Many of the risk factors get eliminated with a diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, and good exercise. These are three essential tasks identified for reducing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Each of these three factors increases your risk of dementia, so keeping them under control means lowering your risk.
Sleep plays a large factor and we suggest you read this article for more information on that.
Also, take a look at the health of your gut. Your diet helps control a lot of problems in your gut. Supplementing with healthy probiotics can give you a leg up, as many recent studies are coming out showing a healthy gut flora can reduce the risk of depression.
Anxiety and depression are not something anyone plans for. One day, you just wake up and realize this is happening, and you’re not even sure how you got there. Medication can help, but it should be a stepping stone to getting back to a more stable place.
Different lifestyle habits can give you an upper edge on tackling anxiety and depression, giving you the tools and resources to naturally and holistically retrain your mind to a happier and more stable place.
We’re not going to lie to you, it’s difficult. But, not doing it has worse consequences, and even if you are only partially successful, it is a huge achievement.
Certain lifestyle habits give your body the best chances of avoiding anxiety or depressive episode. Focusing on foods that support your hormones, namely fruits and vegetables, keeps you healthy. You should avoid processed foods and anything high in sugar. Sugar increases the risk of an anxiety attack and depression.
Exercise is proven to help reduce anxiety and works as a treatment in some cases of low to medium-level depression. It has to do with releasing various hormones in the brain that encourage feeling good and reducing cortisol.
Meditation and prayer work very well to reduce overall stress. Therapy and coaching can help as well.
Once you recognize the signs, getting medication and treatment is key to reversing the symptoms.
A final aspect many therapies and well-meaning writers forget is socialization. In this time of a pandemic, socialization is more complicated. We see a tremendous increase in anxiety and depression in every bubble of society. As much as possible, you should schedule a time to socialize with other people and get that human engagement necessary for our survival.
Anxiety and depression can rob you of the enjoyable aspects of life now and rob you of your health later on. Taking steps to mitigate these symptoms can give you a better chance of retaining your mental health later on.
We know it is challenging as a caregiver to reign in your anxiety and depression. So much is riding on your responsibilities for your loved one. These are to help you avoid placing a burden on your loved ones later in life, so you can enjoy as much time as possible with them now and later on.