29. Epidemiology and Geriatric Psychiatry

  1. Ming T. Tsuang2,3,
  2. Mauricio Tohen4,5 and
  3. Peter B. Jones6
  1. Celia F. Hybels and
  2. Dan G. Blazer

Published Online: 19 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470976739.ch29

Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition

Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition

How to Cite

Hybels, C. F. and Blazer, D. G. (2011) Epidemiology and Geriatric Psychiatry, in Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition (eds M. T. Tsuang, M. Tohen and P. B. Jones), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470976739.ch29

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Center for Behavioral Genomics, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla CA 92039, USA

  2. 3

    Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology & Genetics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA

  3. 4

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio, USA

  4. 5

    Division of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7526 Louis Pasteur Drive, San Antonio TX 78229-3900, USA

  5. 6

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Box 189, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3003, Durham NC 27710, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470694671

Online ISBN: 9780470976739

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Keywords:

  • incidence;
  • prevalence;
  • depression;
  • dementia;
  • elderly;
  • suicide

Summary

The number of older adults will increase significantly over the next few decades. Not only will the composition of the population change with the proportion of older adults increasing, but more of these elders will bring a lifetime diagnosis of one or more psychiatric disorders compared to the current cohort in this age group. In this chapter we first address issues of case identification. It is often difficult to distinguish psychiatric symptoms from symptoms due to medical illness or medication use, both prevalent in this age group. Many older adults also have clinically significant psychiatric symptoms that fail to meet diagnostic criteria but are associated with adverse outcomes. We next review the proportion of older adults with both psychiatric disorders and psychiatric symptoms in comparison to younger age groups, and detail studies examining incidence or the rate at which new cases develop in this age group. Focusing on depressive disorders and dementia, we consider aetiological factors as well as outcomes associated with these conditions and issues related to comorbidity between these two syndromes. We next discuss the high suicide rates among older adults, particularly white males, and conclude with a summary of the limited use of mental health services by older adults, most of whom, if treated, receive care from primary care physicians rather than mental health specialists.