Mental Health Awareness Month: Geriatric Psychiatry
It’s estimated that one in every nine people ages 65 and older have Alzheimer’s. And while studies are still ongoing to find a treatment, it’s shown that medical treatment can slow down the development of Alzheimer's and other geriatric psychiatry conditions.
If your loved one faces emotional or mental challenges, you’re not alone. Our team at Medical West can help care for your loved one, providing treatment and techniques to improve their quality of life. Learn everything you need to know about geriatric psychiatry, including symptoms, common diagnoses, and more.
What Is Geriatric Psychiatry?
Geriatric psychiatry focuses on the emotional and mental well-being of patients over the age of 65. Care is focused on encouraging aging minds and bodies to reach their optimum level of functioning. Geriatric psychiatry professionals can help diagnose, treat, and manage numerous diseases and ailments, such as dementia, sleep disorders, and Alzheimer’s.
What Are the Symptoms of Geriatric Psychiatry Conditions?
Every older adult is unique; some symptoms may differ based on other conditions or life experiences. When in doubt, we recommend seeking medical treatment for your loved one to properly diagnose the underlying condition.
Some common symptoms that geriatric psychiatry can help with include:
- Feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, or lack of purpose
- Severe depression or anxiety that affects daily activities
- Increased agitation, mood swings, or outbursts
- Confusion, disorientation, or problems with decision making
- Memory loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Unexplained changes in dress, appetite, sleep, or energy
- Social withdrawal
What Are Common Diagnosis in Geriatric Psychiatry?
The most common diagnoses in geriatric psychiatry are called the “3 Ds
”: delirium, dementia, and depression. Delirium comes on quickly, and symptoms can vary, but some older adults may experience confused thinking and a lack of understanding of one's surroundings. This condition is common in numerous patient settings and can be treatable with certain medications.
Dementia occurs slower than delirium. It’s characterized by progressive impairment of two or more brain functions, like memory loss and judgment. However, dementia can encompass many issues relating to social and intellectual processes. Alzheimer’s disease
is a specific type of dementia and is the most common form nationwide.
Depression is unfortunately common in older adults and can describe a feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and lack of interest in usually enjoyable activities. Depression is often accompanied by insomnia and other somatic complaints.
These three conditions can overlap significantly; a patient can experience just one or all three. However, it’s important to note that these three ailments aren’t the only disease in geriatric psychiatry.
What Are Common Treatments in Geriatric Psychiatry?
Treatments for geriatric patients should be focused, personalized, and proven. Medical West offers numerous treatments for functioning and overall quality of life.
Our treatments include:
- Specialized Psychiatric & Medical Care
- One-on-One Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Spiritual Therapy provided by Medical West Chaplains
- Family Counseling
Combining these remedies is often the best approach, along with familiar support. We offer daily visiting hours so that you can support and encourage your loved ones during their stay.
Where Should My Loved One Go for Geriatric Psychiatry?
At Medical West, we understand it can be challenging to care for your loved one while they’re experiencing emotional and mental distress. While it may seem like the worst-case scenario, finding medical help for your older loved one can be the best course of action for both of you.
Our team of experts at Medical West can diagnose, treat, and manage any geriatric conditions while striving to restore quality of life. We take patients through referrals from a primary care physician, nursing home, or assisted living facility. For more referral information, please contact UAB Medical West at (205) 481-7661.
Has Your Loved One Not Been Themselves Recently? Call Us Today!
The team at Medical West is here for you and your family. Whether your loved one faces insomnia, depression, dementia, or other conditions, we can help ease anxieties and improve the quality of life. Call us at (205) 481-7661 to learn more about our geri-psych unit!