How Depression In Elderly Patients May Lead To Medical Misdiagnoses

psychiatric careThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that approximately 16.1 million adults suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2015, or 6.7% of the population. While depression is increasing in the millennial population, there are also millions of seniors who suffer from depression, too.

Psychiatric care was seen as shameful in the past, when many seniors came of age, and that stigma continues to permeate American culture today. As a result, mental illness among the elderly often goes undiagnosed. This can lead not only to emotional challenges for elderly patients without psychiatric care, but also various health problems.

Health problems in elderly patients suffering from depression

Depression is experienced differently by older adults than it is by younger adults. In the senior population, major depressive disorder may exhibit itself with symptoms such as cognitive impairments, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and physical complaints. These symptoms often coincide with generalized symptoms of aging, which can often leave an elderly patient’s mental illness overlooked.

However, if family members or health care providers are aware of a mental illness, they may brush a physical ailment or medical problem off as a symptom of the mental illness. For a variety of reasons, depression often leads to improper diagnoses in older patients. For instance, the development of depression may be a sign of mental illness or may also be an early sign of dementia.

study conducted by the University of California San Diego found that up to one in three elderly patients referred to a psychiatric hospital actually needed medical care for a physical health problem. At the same time, many seniors are prescribed medication or given treatment for physical pain that is actually a symptom of depression.

These mistakes are why it is so important to watch out for the signs of mental health problems and obtain an accurate diagnosis.

How best to treat elderly patients with depression

If a depressive episode is making it difficult for a person to function or care for themselves, then an acute psychiatric hospital may be the right choice. Specifically, a neuropsychiatric geriatric care facility may be a great option for those elderly patients suffering from major depressive disorder or another psychiatric disorder such as PTSD or Bipolar Disorder.

The psychiatric doctors at these inpatient mental health facilities are able to properly provide psychiatric care while being fully aware of any other underlying medical issues. As a result, you can be sure that physical ailments will be properly treated, and that the doctors will be able to identify true physical ailments and symptoms of mental health disorders. Consult with your doctor or caretaker to determine whether a long term psychiatric stay may be beneficial to your health.

How Recreational Therapy Can Aid Older Adults

recreational therapyFor many aging adults, a compassionate approach to therapy is necessary in tandem with more clinical treatments. About one in three seniors has Alzheimer’s or dementia by the end of their life, so this population presents a unique set of cognitive challenges. For many older adults looking to boost their mental and physical health, treatments like art therapy and music therapy can be highly effective. Recreational therapy is also on the rise for people of all ages. The following are just some of the reasons that it can be an effective option for older adults.

  • Improves motor skills.: This type of therapy incorporates a variety of exercises to fine tune both fine and gross motor skills. By engaging in this therapy and keeping their bodies strong, older adults can improve independence and commit to a more active lifestyle overall.
  • Sharpens mental alertness.: With the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s important to senior to consistently keep their minds active. Recreational therapy provides critical infrastructure for this, boosting memory and mental clarity.
  • Eases mental illness.: Feelings of isolation and health decline can lead to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. By working directly with a therapist, seniors can work through the effects of these conditions and find specific coping mechanisms through play and activities.
  • Encourages Socialization: This type of therapy can also happen in a group setting. This way, seniors can make friends and find others to empathize with. These friends can take their quality of life to a whole new level, boosting general satisfaction and happiness.
    • Maintains Physical Health: By staying active and moving their muscles, seniors can reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. While this therapy does not replace the advice and treatment of a medical doctor, it can be effective in getting their bodies moving and blood pumping.

    If you or a loved one thinks recreational therapy could improve your health and quality of life, be sure to talk to your doctor about how to get involved. They may have a recommendation for a specific clinic, as not every center is created equal. Be patient and focus on the benefits. Whether after a hospital stay or as a health care supplement, this extra step will be worth it for your mental and physical health.

How PTSD Differs Between Older and Younger Adults

neuropsychiatric geriatric careWhile mental disorders are being identified and treated earlier with the assistance of professional psychiatric doctors (the number of those diagnosed with depression increases by approximately 20% every year), patients often fail to consider that their symptoms may change as they age.

Modern research suggests differing reactions and experiences regarding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among younger and older adults including veterans. Although the age at which the traumatic experiences occur influences the role of symptomatology, the age of the patient themselves creates an additional shift in symptoms.

Differences in Symptoms
Of those veterans with PTSD, older patients reported more somatic symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and difficulties with memory. However, younger veterans showed more signs of anxiety, hypervigilance, and agitation.

The differences in symptomatology may also be linked to the amount of time between psychiatric care and the traumatic event. For instance, older adults with PTSD who experienced a traumatic event later in life showed similar symptoms to those of younger adults, including hostility, social isolation, agitation, and sleeping problems.

Factors of Age
The differences in symptoms may also be related to a lack of identification from the patient themselves. Younger patients suffering from PTSD are more likely to identify their symptoms and seek treatment because they’re able to see the difference between their normal state of being and the behavioral effects of the disorder.

However, older patients suffering from PTSD may attribute their problems and difficulties to old age rather than their disorder and are therefore less likely to seek neuropsychiatric geriatric care. Additionally, PTSD is a newly identified disorder in the diagnostic system. Therefore, those of older generations who experienced trauma earlier in life were most likely unable to identify the symptoms.

Importance of Neuropsychiatric Geriatric Care
For older patients with PTSD, seeking neuropsychiatric geriatric care is essential because unlike other neuropsychiatric programs, neuropsychiatric geriatric care is designed specifically for each individual patient with both their age and needed care in mind. Unlike young adults, older adults are more likely to experience synergistic reactions and metabolic changes due to polypharmacy. Medical diagnoses can also worsen or cause behavioral or cognitive problems.

NeuroPsychiatric Hospitals offers you the proper and professional psychiatric care you need as you age. Whether it be with art therapy, music therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy, our passionate psychiatric doctors will assist you with your disorder and symptoms in order to keep you strong, safe, and secure.

How To Help a Loved One During a Manic Episode

compassionate psychiatric hospitalOf those who experience symptoms of clinical depression, over 80% report they are not receiving treatment. Untreated depression can often create a series of safety hazards including a higher risk of poor behavioral choices such as alcohol or substance abuse and poor diet. In extreme cases, it may even lead to a loss of a job, relationship, or suicide.

However, clinical depression is different from a manic depressive episode of Bipolar Disorder and it’s important to seek psychiatric care for the latter.

What is a manic episode?
Bipolar disorder is a neuropsychiatric condition in which the sufferer experiences manic highs and depressive lows for weeks or months at a time.

A manic episode is typically described as a period of time in which the patient feels a lack of need for sleep, high energy, a sense of euphoria, and a lowered sense of reality. A person experiencing a manic episode may feel they can do anything, which often leads to health problems or suicidal tendencies without the patient being aware of it.

A manic depressive episode, in contrast, is a period of time in which the sufferer experiences low energy and motivation, a lack of interest in their usual activities or friends, and possibly suicidal thoughts.

How do I help a loved one experiencing a manic episode?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when caring for a loved one with any psychiatric illness is not to be patronizing. A patient suffering from an anxiety or depressive disorder is unable to “think happy thoughts” and “calm down”. Recognize the symptoms of your loved one’s mental disorder and be patient with them.

Another way to help a loved one during a manic episode is to help them financially. Sufferers from bipolar disorder are likely to spend their money impulsively and they may not be aware of the frivolity of their financial decisions until their mood has leveled. When your loved one is not experiencing a manic episode, get their consent to take their credit cards when they are experiencing mania. This allows you to be in control of their financial transactions and you will be able to determine if their choices are sound or if they are not.

If your loved one’s mania has become a danger to their life, another important way to help them is by checking them into a neuropsychiatric hospital. A compassionate psychiatric hospital will help your loved one during their hospital stay by providing therapy and, if necessary, medication.

It is important to note that a compassionate psychiatric hospital is not a psychiatric hospital of the past. By checking your loved one into a compassionate psychiatric hospital, you are assisting with their health, both mentally and physically, and protecting them from harming themselves.

However, it must be noted that this article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice and attention. If your loved one is at risk of harming themselves or others during a manic episode or if you are experiencing another emergency, call 911 immediately.

Art Therapy May Be Beneficial to Sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

hospitalThe most common mental illness in the United States, affecting up to 40 million adults over the age of 18, are anxiety disorders. There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders. Each of them results in symptoms such as nausea, intense fear, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, uneasiness, panic, etc.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Among these anxiety disorders is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Although often experienced by war veterans and soldiers, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that may be experienced by anyone after a particularly stressful, and therefore traumatic, event.

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, irritability, intense anxiety, depression, emotional detachment, hypervigilance, sense sensitivity, etc. If left untreated a patient with PTSD may develop poor coping mechanisms to handle their stress and anxiety such as substance abuse.

Luckily, PTSD can be treated with psychiatric care. A psychiatrist or psychologist may recommend a patient with PTSD undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps to improve a patient’s way of thinking and may assist them in handling their anxiety and the traumatic memories. Medication may also be helpful in treating the patient’s anxiety enough so they may be able to function properly and receive treatment.

Group therapy is another viable option for the treatment of PTSD. Patients who realize they are not alone in the suffering of their mental disorders are less likely to experience depression due to isolation.

Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy, in particular, has been proven to assist patients suffering from PTSD. According to Healthline, “Art therapy uses creative mediums like drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpture. For PTSD recovery, art helps process traumatic events in a new away.” Words tell us things, but they also paint pictures for us in the mind’s eye.

By producing artwork rather than words, a PTSD patient is able to express their emotions and thoughts on paper rather than keeping them in their minds. According to Healthline, “When you bring art or creativity into a session, on a very, very basic level, it taps into other parts of a person’s experience. It accesses information … or emotions that maybe can’t be accessed through talking alone.”

Utilizing art therapy while in a neuropsychiatric hospital may provide patients with a new kind of treatment that allows them to feel grounded and safe in their bodies. One of the many symptoms of anxiety is dissociation. By creating art, a patient is able to focus on the repetitive motions of pencils, paint, or markers and to express themselves visually in another medium.

A neuropsychiatric hospital offers many different kinds of therapy and no one patient responds to treatment the same way. However, every patient that visits a neuropsychiatric hospital or psychiatric doctor’s office is able to benefit from treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, consult a psychiatrist or a neuropsychiatric hospital to find the right treatment for you.