The treatment of mental disorders in the geriatric patient has greater possibilities than is generally recognized. We grant that patients with cortical atrophy, destructive cerebral arteriosclerosis and other untreatable senile brain conditions (Group I) are frequent and bear a poor prognosis. However, if observed over a sufficient period of time, some of these condemned patients show surprising remissions under the standard treatment, which consists of a change of environment, good general care, good food and vitamins. There is another group of patients (Group II) who look and behave like those with true senile psychosis. They have encountered one of the many types of stress, such as pneumonia, surgery or a severe nervous shock, and have become psychotic. Many of the relatives can then recall the nervous complaints and peculiar behavior of the patients prior to the psychosis. The relatives' reports may be either true or fancied and may be prompted by a variety of forces, usually suggestion. These patients are frequently acutely ill and sometimes die quickly. If they are 60 years old or over, the diagnosis is usually senility or arteriosclerotic psychosis and the standard treatment is given. The stress may or may not have disappeared by
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1953
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