As we age, it is important to remain aware of our mental health and seek help and guidance when necessary. We as humans are sensitive to lifestyle changes, which may affect our mood and behavior. A death of a loved one, financial problems, stress or even changes in health and function can impact our mood and behavior.
Older adults are more susceptible to disorders such as substance abuse, dementia, anxiety, depression, and late-life schizophrenia. Acknowledging and understanding the issue at hand is a critical first step in seeking help and treatment, which can be provided by a geriatric psychiatrist. Both professional help and family support can help older adults improve their quality of life.
Diagnosis and Treatment
At the Holiner Psychiatric Group, we are dedicated to our patients. Our specialists are experienced in geriatric psychiatry and can provide treatment for the following diseases:
Substance Abuse and Misuse
A large number of older adults misuse alcohol, prescription drugs, or other substances. Sometimes they’re unknowingly misusing these substances or drugs. As bodies change with age, so does the way it reacts to medications. Without proper documentation and prescription administration, medications can seem confusing and cause physical and mental illness. The amount of alcohol consumed by an older adult compared to a person at a younger age is not the same because they have a decreased tolerance and increased sensitivity to alcohol. Older adults tend to recover from substance abuse quicker than younger adults with proper care and treatment.
Dementia is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex, the central part of the brain that controls memory. However, memory is not the only effect of dementia. This condition can eventually impact other areas of the brain, altering behavioral and reasoning abilities.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly 10 percent of the world’s population over the age of 65 is diagnosed. Many times, Alzheimer’s disease is discounted as part of the normal aging process, but this is not the case. While there is no cure, Alzheimer’s disease can be treated by managing symptoms to slow its progression. If you or a loved one shows any signs of dementia, a geriatric psychiatrist should be consulted to help improve the quality of life.
Feelings of anxiousness or nervousness are common feelings and a normal reaction to stress in people of all ages. Yet prolonged anxiety (longer than two weeks) coupled with feelings of being overwhelmed or dreading everyday activities may be a sign of an illness. Anxiety affects 10-20 percent of older adults and often remains undiagnosed.
Anxiety symptoms may not get addressed because a person may be reluctant to discuss feelings with a physician, or perhaps the symptoms have existed throughout a person’s life and they recognize it as normal. Anxiety is very treatable and begins with acknowledgement followed by the help of a mental professional.
Depression and anxiety go hand in hand and often occur together. Depression is not a mood that passes or comes and goes. It lasts for a prolonged period of time and inhibits regular activities. Usually, when depression occurs later in life, it is a relapse of an earlier episode. If depression is occurring for the first time later in life, it could be triggered by another illness, which can make recognition harder. As the brain and body age, a natural biological process begin to change and put an older adult at higher risk of depression. Depression can happen to anyone, and is nothing to feel ashamed of.
Schizophrenia disorders alter a person’s thinking and perception and appear either in episodes, or continuously. This disorder usually begins in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, it does not have any restrictions on age and develops among those 65 years or older about 0.6 percent of the time.
While studies suggest that inherited genes influence onset, it is not determined by it. Environmental causes are also influencers. Factors such as high levels of stress can trigger development. Older adults have a higher risk of stress as the result of any financial problems, changes in living situations, or family problems. These stress triggers can become harder to deal with as we age. During active periods, symptoms can include, but are not limited to delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech.
Your golden years do not have to be difficult. Any disease that develops later in later does not have to define your life or impact the lives of your loved one. There are treatments and answers that a psychiatrist or psychologist at the Holiner Group can provide. Call us today to schedule an appointment.