Geriatric Psychiatry Program
The University of Louisville geriatric psychiatry program provides clinical services to older patients with depression and other mood disorders, as well as dementia and other psychiatric conditions. Psychiatrists utilize psychotherapeutic approaches including cognitive-behavior therapy as well as pharmacotherapy. Electroconvulsive therapy is also available for severely ill patients who have not responded to other measures. Psychiatrists in this program have extensive experience in dealing with frail elders who may be sensitive to medication side-effects.
The overlapping effects of depression, aging, illness, cognitive loss, grief, and other factors require a specialized multi-pronged approach, frequently utilizing a team of experts working with the patient and family to provide coordinated medical and social services. Depressed elders often have loss of functional and cognitive abilities along with weight loss and other problems in a syndrome of “failure to thrive.” The role of depression in this condition is easy to overlook amongst the myriad of other medical and social problems, or may be rationalized as an expectable reaction to stress. The expert geriatric psychiatrist can make an enormous impact on the quality of life for such patients by teasing out the elements of treatable disorders, particularly depression.