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Pharmacotherapy for psychosis in elderly patients

Elderly person with psychosis

There are a large number of elderly patients who suffer from different sorts of psychotic problems which call for various environmental, behavioral and social interventions. Some patients require certain types of pharmacologic interventions so that their behavioral disturbances triggered by the psychotic symptoms can be managed properly.

Medication for managing psychosis

There are a large number of different types of medications which may be used for the management of psychosis. Among the most commonly used are certain types of anxiolytic medicaments such as oxazepam or lorazepam. They are commonly used in patients who suffer from agitation. Benzodiazepine is not used that often because it may be associated with various side effects such as further cognitive impairment. On the other hand, an agonist called buspirone is often used for the management of agitation in elderly patients with psychosis. Its side effects are minor and they occur in a lot less number of cases. They usually include dizziness or headaches. There are also certain types of antidepressants which may be of certain help in some cases of psychosis in elderly patients. One of the most commonly used antidepressants is known by the name of trazodone and it is characterized as a serotonergic type of antidepressant.  There are certain side effects which may occur and those include sleep disturbances, different types of gastrointestinal problems, agitation, restlessness, irritability, agitation and emotional bluntness. The aforementioned types of drugs have been helpful to a certain extent in some cases of psychosis in elderly patients, but the primary treatment for such medical cases are different sorts of antipsychotic medications. They are further divided into atypical and conventional groups. The most commonly used types of antipsychotic medications include haloperidol and thioridazine. As is the case with most other sorts of medicaments, herbal remedies, preparations and substances commonly used for the treatment of certain medical conditions and ailments, these antipsychotic medications may be associated with several side effects such as EPS, anticholinergic symptoms, sedation, orhtostasis and an increased risk of tardive dyskinesia. The most commonly used types of atypical antipsychotic drugs include quetiapien and olanzapine. They are somewhat more beneficial as they are associated with a lower risk of development of tardive dyskinesia. Some cases may involve the use of clozapine as another member of the group of atypical antipsychotic medications.

Psychotic disorders

For those who do not know, psychotic disorders are a group of serious medical conditions which affect one’s ability to behave appropriately, understand reality, communicate effectively, respond emotionally, make good judgments and think clearly. Fortunately enough, most cases of psychotic disorders can be treated successfully, excluding the most severe cases. There are numerous different types of psychotic disorders and they include paraphrenia, psychotic disorders due to medical conditions, substance induced psychotic disorders, shared psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic disorder, schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder and the most common one which is schizophrenia. The symptoms of these medical conditions usually vary from person to person and they also tend to change over time. In most cases, the most common symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. Other possible symptoms which may be present in people who suffer from psychotic disorders include mania, depression, mood swings, inability to express emotion, detached manner, cold manner, problems with relationships, problems at work, problems at school, loss of interest in activities, loss of interest in personal hygiene, unusual movements, slowed movements, dangerous behavior, strange behavior, confused thinking, incoherent speech and disorganized speech. The exact cause of such medical problems and conditions is largely unknown as there are numerous different types of factors which may contribute to their development. Some sources claim that psychotic disorders can be inherited while certain others claim that various environmental factors such as major life changes, drug abuse, stress and others should be held responsible for the onset of psychotic disorders. It is a widely known fact that those who suffer from psychotic disorders often have an imbalance of various chemicals in the brain. Psychotic disorders usually affect those who are younger than 40 and they affect women and men in equal amounts. According to certain statistical data, every 100th person in the world is affected by some sort of psychotic disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to diagnose a psychotic disorder properly the doctor needs to be well aware of the patient’s entire medical history. There are no specific tests to determine the psychotic disorder. As far as treatment options go, the aforementioned different types of medications are usually the first choice. Other than that, people who suffer from psychotic disorder may also be treated by psychotherapy. There are numerous different types which include family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy and many others. Each patient usually responds to different treatment methods differently. Some patients recover quicker than the others. Fortunately enough, most cases are eventually cured. 

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