Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions.

Most mental health symptoms have traditionally been divided into groups called either ‘neurotic’ or ‘psychotic’ symptoms. ‘Neurotic’ covers those symptoms which can be regarded as severe forms of ‘normal’ emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or panic. Conditions formerly referred to as ‘neuroses’ are now more frequently called ‘common mental health problems.’

Less common are ‘psychotic’ symptoms, which interfere with a person’s perception of reality, and may include hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else can. Mental health problems affect the way you think, feel and behave. They are problems that can be diagnosed by a doctor, not personal weaknesses.

Getting older and retirement both involve a change in lifestyle for most people and it’s important to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically.

There’s an assumption that mental health problems are a ‘normal’ aspect of ageing but most older people don’t develop mental health problems, and they can be helped if they do. While a significant number of people do develop dementia or depression in old age, they aren’t an inevitable part of getting older.

is a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem-solving, concentration and perception. It occurs as a result of the death of brain cells or damage in parts of the brain that deal with our thought processes.

People with dementia can become confused and some also become restless or display repetitive behaviour. They may also seem irritable, tearful or agitated which can be very distressing for both the person with dementia and their family and friends.

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

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