Study: Depression ages your brain

We’ve known for years that people with depression are at higher risk for dementia, but a new study shows it’s more than that. Depression causes all kinds of signs of brain aging.

A new study looked at depression’s effect on memory loss, executive function (like decision making) and processing speed in older adults. People  with symptoms of depression experienced a greater decline in these categories than did their peers with better mental health.

One takeaway from this study is that taking care of your mental health now can make a huge difference in your quality of life later! Don’t put off seeking help.

Also, if you’re suffering from depression, pay attention to your cognitive abilities. Early intervention is crucial for preserving functioning as you age.

Experts say taking care of your overall health in the following ways can help keep your brain healthy:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • exercising regularly
  • keeping alcohol to a minimum
  • stopping smoking
  • keeping blood pressure at a healthy level

Take care of yourself! Your aging brain will thank you.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

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