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  • 1. Chapter 15 Disorders of Aging and Cognition Slides & Handouts by Karen Clay Rhines, Ph.D. Seton Hall University
  • 2. Aging and Psychological Disorders
    • The psychological problems of elderly people may be divided into two groups:
      • Disorders that are found in people of all ages but are connected to the process of aging
        • Depressive, anxiety, and substance-related disorders
      • Disorders of cognition
        • Delirium, dementia
  • 3. Depression
    • Risk increases
      • Especially women
    • Suicide
    • Treatment
      • Less likely to seek
      • Less likely to get accurate diagnosis and treatment
  • 4. Anxiety Disorders
    • Increased Risk
      • Sense of vulnerability
      • Withdrawal
      • Loss of support systems
    • Likely underreported
  • 5. Substance Abuse
    • Poses significant problems for many older people, but prevalence actually declines after age 60
    • A leading kind of substance abuse in the elderly is the misuse of prescription drugs
      • Most often it is unintentional
  • 6. Psychotic Disorders
    • Elderly people have a higher rate of psychotic symptoms than younger people
      • Primarily related to delirium and dementia
      • However, some elderly people suffer from schizophrenia or delusional disorder
        • Symptoms of schizophrenia lessen in later life
        • New cases of schizophrenia uncommon
        • Symptoms of delusions may increase
  • 7. Disorders of Cognition
    • The leading cognitive disorders among elderly people are delirium and dementia
    • Delirium is a clouding of consciousness
      • awareness of the environment becomes less clear, difficulty concentrating, focusing attention, and thinking sequentially
    • Fever, metabolic disorders, infections, poor nutrition, head injuries, certain brain diseases, stress (including the trauma of surgery), and certain substances may all cause delirium
  • 8. Dementia
    • Significant memory loss along with losses in other cognitive functions such as abstract thinking or language
      • may also experience changes in personality and behavior
    • Like delirium, some forms of dementia result from nutritional, metabolic, or other problems that can be corrected
      • Most forms, however, are caused by brain diseases or injuries, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, which are currently difficult or impossible to correct
  • 9. Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Most common form of dementia (50% or more)
      • Organic Brain Dysfunction
        • Neurofibrillary tangles in hippocampus
        • Senile plaques in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and certain other brain regions
      • Genetic/Biological
  • 10. Other Forms of Dementia
    • Vascular dementia (multi-infarct dementia)
      • May follow a cerebrovascular accident, or stroke, during which blood flow to specific areas of the brain was cut off, with resultant damage
    • Pick’s disease – a rare disorder that affects the frontal and temporal lobes and is clinically similar to Alzheimer’s disease
    • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – caused by a slow-acting virus, this disease has symptoms that include sporadic movements
  • 11. Other Forms of Dementia
      • Huntington’s disease – an inherited progressive disease in which memory problems worsen over time, along with personality changes and mood difficulties
      • Parkinson’s disease – a slowly progressive neurological disorder marked by tremors, rigidity, and unsteadiness
      • Viral and bacterial infectious disorders such as HIV and AIDS, meningitis, and advanced syphilis
      • Brain seizure disorder
      • Drug abuse
      • Toxins such as mercury, lead, or carbon monoxide
  • 12. Issues Affecting the Mental Health of the Elderly
    • Medical scientists suggest that the current generation of young adults should take a health-maintenance, or wellness, approach to their own aging process
      • There is a growing belief that older adults will adapt more readily to changes and negative events if their physical and psychological health is good