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Farm Bureau Health Plans

Chronic Conditions: Depression

Can anything be done to prevent the onset of a chronic medical condition or make an
existing one easier? Yes to both questions!

According to the 2021 National Council on Aging, the 8th most prevalent chronic condition is Depression. Fourteen percent of older adults sought treatment for depression – a treatable medical condition that is not a normal part of aging. Depression causes persistent feelings of sadness, pessimism, hopelessness, fatigue, difficulty making decisions, changes in appetite, a loss of interest in activities, and more.

There are some steps you can take to help prevent or manage depression:

Manage stress levels. Reach out to family and friends during rough spells and consider regular meditation.

Eat a healthy diet. What you put into your body can affect your mood so focus on foods that are high in nutrients and promote the release of endorphins and those “feel good” chemicals. Limit consumption of things like alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and
highly processed foods.

Routine exercise. Exercise has a number of physical and psychological benefits, including improving your mood through the release of endorphins and other “feel good” brain chemicals. Exercise can boost self-confidence and self-worth through meeting goals and improving your physical appearance. Plus you will benefit from the increased socialization through interactions at gyms and group classes.

Talk to your doctor. If you’ve experienced any of the warning signs of depression, talk to your doctor and ask about treatment options. Antidepressant medications or psychotherapy could be right for you.

If you or someone you love has had thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK).

Source: 2021 National Council on Aging, Inc.

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