Mental-Health Treatment for Seniors Is Complex; Some Therapists Have Special Training

Did you know there are people who specialize in mental-health care for seniors? The treatment considerations are more complicated than you might think—both for substance abuse and for mental-health problems—reports HealthDay News.

Older people metabolize both alcohol and drugs differently from younger people, putting them at risk for overdoses. According to one estimate, almost two-thirds of emergency room visits for adverse drug reactions in 2008 were by elderly people.

Also, elderly people — particularly those with depression — may be less able to adhere to complicated medication regimens for mental and physical ailments.

And medications to treat mental health issues may not react well with other medications needed to treat high blood pressure, diabetes and the host of other physical problems that become common as people age.

It’s great that there are specialists who deal with these issues regularly. The problem is there aren’t enough of them, according to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine—at least, not enough to meet the demand for future years, with all the aging baby boomers. But for now, perhaps you can find one of these specialists in your parent’s town if your mom or dad needs help.

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