Treating Personality Disorders in the Elderly

When it comes to personality disorders (a broad category of mental disorders that includes paranoid, borderline and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) there are a lot of factors that could potentially affect the intensity of the illness. Over time, personality disorders can change. Sometimes, the symptoms grow stronger, and other times they lessen. As a person suffering from a personality disorder ages, the treatment options become more and more complicated.

On top of that, a large number of seniors suffer from other life-altering conditions, such as clinical depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Parkinson’s. These conditions, when paired with personality disorders, can be very hard to treat. When it comes to tackling these disorders in older people, it’s best to aim for accomplishing short-term goals.

There are a few key treatment options for personality disorders, each one’s use depending on a number of factors that change from case to case. Psychotherapy is a go-to method of treatment, as it deals with the mental state of an elderly person who has a personality disorder. By delving into a patient’s thoughts, feelings, and moods, a psychiatrist might be able to provide tips on how to take control of their day-to-day life and learn to cope with potential hardships their illness may present.

Sometimes, medical intervention is necessary, particularly for conditions like extreme anxiety, depression or certain types of psychoses. The use of medications is very serious though, because of potential side effects that can be particularly miserable for older patients. Beyond that, some medications lead to bad reactions or negative interactions with other medications. Most treatment plans involve a delicate mixture of both psychotherapy and medications.

It’s important that the family members of an elderly person who suffers from a personality disorder stay in close contact with the medical professionals in charge of their loved one’s care. Complicated family relationships can lead to trouble when it comes to maintaining a successful treatment plan because any added stress on a person with a personality disorder can make recovery all the more difficult.