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Mental Issues Could Come With Growing Old

Update Date: Jul 11, 2012 08:19 AM EDT

Growing old certainly means more than just physical aging. Apart from increased risks of diseases and heart problems, there is also an increased risk of mental health issues or substance abuse problems for at least 1 in 5 people, says a new study.

With the rapidly growing population, in the next 20 years, millions of people will be on the brink of old age might face a lot of difficulty in finding aid for mental problems such as depression as the country is not prepared to take care of their needs.

There are not enough doctors, nurses and other health workers to assist them with the problems, according to the Institute of Medicine and the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences..

Not much focus is put upon the mental issues one faces with aging. More emphasis and preparations are made for the physical health needs of what's been called the silver tsunami, says the report.

There are around 5.6 million to 8 million Americans aged 65 years and older who fighting mental health condition or substance abuse disorder, while depressive disorders and psychiatric symptoms related to dementia are named as the most common.

Although an exact prediction of the patients who would be affected in future could not be projected by the panel, the existing number of patients would certainly double by 2030, says report co-author Dr. Peter Rabins, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University.

Only getting older does not raise one's chances of contracting a mental health issue, Rabins said. It is the middle age when the onset of most common mental disorders is likely.

When they do occur in old people they are generally overlooked, the report found.

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