Mental illness in the elderly, a problem of the future

Written by: Dr. Augusto Zafra Villena
Published: | Updated: 23/02/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

In 2020, mental illness will be the main health problems that society will suffer worldwide. The psychiatric care for patients and support their families is essential to overcome this type of pathologies.

psychiatric problems in the elderly

In 1996 the WHO and warned of the importance of mental illness were to acquire in the future. In this regard, experts insist that“the biggest health problem in the year 2020 throughout the world, developing countries including, will not be the cancer. What will make more humanity will suffer mental illness. In less than 20 years depression happen to be the fifth leading cause of disability current second place”.

elderly patients have the same type of mental disorders than adults younger. The high prevalence and high morbidity conducive to the elderly at higher risk of cognitive impairment. Besides the comprehensive clinical exploration mental status and cognitive function, it is important to know the use of drugs and non-pharmacological therapies, stimulation.


Diagnosis of psychiatric problem

The early diagnosis must be the workhorse of the psychiatrist in detecting symptoms or signs suggesting the existence of a psychiatric problem, some behavioral alteration or neurodegenerative disease.

The interview clinic and psychopathological examination is the axis on which it is party to the request for additional evidence to guide a proper diagnosis. At the root of this also will be able to provide the most effective therapeutic approach according to clinical, social and family of each patient conditions.


Paper Specialist

The role of the psychiatrist is fundamental within a multidisciplinary team of care to elderly patients with other professionals such as geriatricians, neurologists and internists. Our work is focused on the detection, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness;the evaluation of neurodegenerative pathologies and addressing behavioral alterations. Also it is important advice to patients and their families about the need to maintain the specific care for each time through the coordination of health and social resources located in the hospital, in the community or in the home.

Therefore, we are talking about dynamic concepts in the comprehensive approach to patients with advanced age requires continuous updating of knowledge to make them serve the best interests of patients and family.


family pose

The family is an indispensable support in the recovery of mentally or neurodegenerative pathology. This demonstrated that elderly patients with a suitable family environment have better prognosis than the rest. Therefore form an integral part of the recovery process as co-therapists and performing active role in the supervision of the patient and the early detection of symptoms or behaviors. In the absence of family mobilize social resources necessary to exercise the familiar figure to ensure a global medical improvement of elderly patients.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Augusto Zafra Villena

Dr. Zafra is a renowned expert in psychiatry. Throughout his career he has won numerous specializations in the field of psychiatry in various institutions of national prestige. In this sense, he is an expert in: legal and forensic psychiatry, psicogeriatría, addiction and dual diagnosis, among other diseases and treatments. Performs expert and forensic activity in the field of psychiatry collaborating with the judicial system. He is director of the Detoxification Clinic in Aguas Vivas IVANE Hospital, also holds private practice and works as a professional with the Hon. COMV in the PAIME program. On the other hand, he is an active member of the Spanish Society of Legal Psychiatry, the Spanish Society of Dual Pathology and the Spanish Association of Private Psychiatry.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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Overall assessment of their patients

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