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How can support groups help an older person with a mood disorder?

Support groups address aspects of the disorder that medication often can't reach. One of the hardest parts of receiving a mood disorder diagnosis is the feeling that you're odd or abnormal, utterly alone. Support groups normalize mood disorders and bring mood up (researchers have proven) as only social networks can do.

Creating a social network of others who understand your experiences benefits you in many ways. Support group members share coping skills, feelings of shame and embarrassment, treatment strategies and other important information. Every one of these members felt self-conscious and apprehensive upon arriving at their first meeting. These feelings eventually evaporate when they realize everyone is there to support one another.

At first, the groups may seem mixed in age and background. After a while, you may meet others who would like to start a group just for older adults. You can tailor it to your needs by having meetings earlier in the day or by making it handicapped accessible. All support groups are confidential and free of charge. The mission of support groups is to:
  • provide a place of belonging and acceptance;
  • offer opportunities for self-discovery;
  • help friends and family of those affected understand that the mood disorder does not define an individual; and
  • provide opportunities to learn from and connect with others who have gone through the same experiences.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.