Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Psychiatry

The Efficacy of Treatment Reminders of Life with Emphasis on Integrative Reminiscence on Self-Esteem and Anxiety in Widowed Old Men

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Psychiatry

The Efficacy of Treatment Reminders of Life with Emphasis on Integrative Reminiscence on Self-Esteem and Anxiety in Widowed Old Men

Article excerpt

Aging is the accumulation of changes in a person over time. Aging in humans refers to a multidimensional process of physical, psychological and social changes. Depression and anxiety are the most important issues in aging; many factors are involved in the emergence and enhancement of aging, including loss of power, purpose in life, physical skills, painful diseases, low social status and financial strength and most importantly feeling lonely due to death of close people, friends or a spouse. Approaching the end of life and death imposes certain pressures on elderly people which most likely increase anxiety due to loneliness and depression in this population (1). According to the researches, death of a spouse incurs the highest trauma and stress to the other spouse (2). The elderly who have lost their spouse feel guilty and become depressed for blaming themselves, because their self-worth is dependent on the past achievements rather than on the future. An old man who has been experiencing management of life along with his spouse, finds himself alone when he losses his spouse. Loss of emotional support paves the way for mental disorders (3). Several studies have noted loneliness in the final years of life as the predisposing factor for contracting mental illness. Sleep disturbances, poor appetite, restlessness, exhaustion, preoccupation, anxiety, inability to meet the routine of life, loss of interest and motivation, irritability and aggression are psychological disorders seen in this group of seniors (4,5). The changes that the seniors are faced with in terms of role reversals, dependency on their children or loss of a spouse can be very difficult to cope with. According to the perceptions of the seniors, they are not useful to anyone in any way and this increases their feeling of worthlessness. Their pillars of existence and the ideas of life in general begin to disappear. Loss is always painful, loss of a spouse, of mobility, health or independence. In such situations, it is no wonder that the senior citizens suffer from low self esteem. This is a precarious mental situation that may lead to depression and health problems that will prevent them from enjoying life. If there is no support system, the elderly may even turn to alcohol or drug abuse and in severe cases, suicide (2). Undoubtly, the combination of numerous aging issues with the big problem of death greatly boosts loneliness-induced depression and anxiety in the elderly. Medical therapy also reduces merely issues related to physical outcomes of depression and anxiety. Therefore, in recent years, more attention has been paid to cognitive approaches to treat and reduce the outcomes of aging (5,6). Reminisence with emphasis on integrative reminiscence is one of the psychological approaches. Butler (7) proposed life review for the first time. He considers life review as the natural action and general process in which individual calls past experiences, thinks about them and evaluates them and meditates on them with the goal of achieving greater self-knowledge. The therapeutic aspect of life review is to revive these experiences and conflicts, reassess them, resolve them and reach character integrity (8). The purpose of life review is to help people to integrate their life experiences and give a new meaning to their lives by modifing the adaptive property of this treatment. During the life review process, a person expands his own understanding of the history of private life with review of life experiences and re-formatting and cognitive restructurtion of life events that would directly affect his emotions. Thus review of life is essentially a treatment process which leads to the insight and understanding more of oneself with emotional, behavioral and cognitive changes (9). According to Butler, this treatment has two purposes: First, it will help the client to help reduce the cognitive inhibition and emotionally process annoying and unwanted thoughts and emotions related to negative past events (10). …

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