Countless seniors have benefitted from neuropsychiatric evaluations in recent years, and already it’s one of the top trends in both psychiatry and geriatrics. There are two simple reasons for this. First, the U.S. healthcare system and the public at large are finally talking openly about mental health, which is still clouded by stigma and misinformation. Second, we have a rapidly aging population, with record numbers of people over the age of 65.
The brain is both the most important and least understood part of the human body, and in order to correctly diagnose diseases associated with the brain, many older patients will benefit from neuropsychiatric evaluations. In fact, many seniors live their entire lives suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and similar disorders, but only receive a diagnosis very late in life after neuropsychiatric evaluations.
While the United States certainly suffers from a lack of compassionate psychiatric hospitals, there are a growing number of neuropsychiatric doctors. On top of that, geriatric neuropsychiatry is an increasingly common speciality.
Who is eligible for neuropsychiatric evaluations?
Seniors suffering from any of the following symptoms could be eligible for an evaluation:
- Self-harming behaviors, including suicidal ideation
- Erratic changes in behavior
- Sudden or frequent confusion
- Hallucinations and/or delusions
- Impaired thinking, disruptive behavior, and/or verbal aggression
- Refusing or non-compliance with medical treatment
- Similar symptoms of depression or anxiety
These symptoms could be signs of underlying neuropsychiatric conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, psychosis, schizophrenia, brain injury, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Why are neuropsychiatric evaluations such a useful tool?
As explained above, due to the stigma and lack of ignorance of mental health problems, too many Americans live their entire lives without a proper diagnosis. As we age, mental health issues can have an increasingly negative effect on one’s quality of life. In addition, many seniors will suffer from disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s, which often require a lifelong treatment plan.
If one of your loved ones is aging and suffering from unusual symptoms, then they could benefit from an evaluation. Neuropsychiatric geriatric care is a growing field, and there are likely skilled specialists near you.
For more information, contact a neuropsychiatric hospital, geriatric care specialists, or other mental health facilities in your area. In emergency situations, inpatient mental health facilities may be necessary, so always call 911 for life threatening emergencies.