Learn how to get a consultation with UTSW's psychiatry team.
Older adults can develop emotional and mental health disorders that can affect their quality of life and even their physical health. Our geriatric psychiatry program at UT Southwestern is dedicated to managing these disorders and the overall well-being of older adults.
Our specialists have advanced training in mental health and geriatric medicine to provide exceptional care for seniors.
Behavioral Health Services and Treatment Designed for Older Adults
Geriatric psychiatry is a specialty focused on the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in older people. These disorders include dementia, sleep disorders, anxiety, and late-life depression and psychosis. With the right treatment, seniors can manage mental and emotional disorders and improve their physical health and quality of life.
UT Southwestern’s geriatric psychiatry team has specialized training in the unique emotional, mental, social, and physical health needs of older patients. Our team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychiatric physician assistants, and social work therapists.
We create treatment plans that address these needs to relieve symptoms and help our older patients stay independent.
The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute brings together transformative research and patient-centered care to improve the lives of patients today and those of generations to come.
Services We Provide for Geriatric Psychiatry
Anxiety, depression, dementia, and other emotional and mental health disorders are not an inevitable part of aging. Geriatric psychiatry addresses the:
- Biological and psychological aspects of normal aging
- Psychological effects of short- and long-term physical health conditions
- Biological and social effects of psychiatric problems in older people
Our team provides outpatient psychiatric, psychological, and behavioral health services and treatments for seniors, which include:
- Comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation and diagnosis
- Medication management
- Individual, group, and family therapy (counseling)
- Specialized education for patients, their families, and their caregivers
In addition to providing psychiatric care to patients at UT Southwestern, we are pleased to offer expert consultation to community mental health providers and their patients.
Patients seeking a consultation at the Multispecialty Psychiatry Clinic should have their current mental health provider send a referral. Once a referral has been received, call 214-645-8300 to schedule the consultation.
Geriatric Psychiatry: Conditions We Treat
Our geriatric psychiatry team evaluates and manages care for older people with all types of mental and emotional disorders, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and other types of dementia
- Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
- Behavioral changes such as aggressiveness, outbursts, or social withdrawal
- Sleep disorders
- Alcohol and substance abuse and dependence
- Psychiatric symptoms related to other co-occurring medical or neurological conditions
- Late-life psychosis, such as schizophrenia
- Self-harm behaviors or suicidal thoughts or attempts
Awareness of Geriatric Psychiatric Symptoms
Seniors face emotional, social, and mental health issues that are unique to their life experiences. Our geriatric psychiatry team offers treatment that helps relieve symptoms such as:
- Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and lack of purpose
- Stress and worry caused by the challenges of living with physical health conditions
- Anxiety due to mobility limitations or living conditions, such as financial strains, overwhelming home maintenance, or stress resulting from the sale and moving from their home
- Grief over the death of a spouse, family member, or friend
- Severe depression or anxiety that affects their ability to function
- Intense fear of a terminal illness or death
- Behavioral issues such as agitation, repetitive behaviors, outbursts, or mood swings
- Lack of self-esteem or confidence
When to See a Provider and When to Seek Emergency Care
Someone should contact a health care provider or our geriatric psychiatry team if they or their loved one:
- Has a history of depression and now feels sad most of the time, has lost interest in most of their daily activities, or has difficulty paying attention to their activities or environment
- Has noticeable changes in memory, concentration, moods, or personal care
- Doesn’t eat enough food or drink enough liquids to stay healthy
- Makes unusual sounds or movements while sleeping or seems excessively sleepy, which could be signs of a sleep disorder
- Has memory loss with depression, with difficulty planning or making decisions, or after a change in medications
Seek emergency care immediately if the person talks about self-harm or suicide. It’s critical to take a person seriously if they talk about either self-harm or suicide.
Geriatric Psychiatry: Treatments at UT Southwestern
Our geriatric psychiatry program brings together specialists from several fields of medicine for comprehensive care. Our team works closely with each patient and their family to provide a thorough evaluation, beginning with a:
- Discussion of symptoms, personal medical history, and family medical history
- Psychiatric evaluation to assess cognitive and social functioning and screen for mental health conditions
- Psychological assessment to discuss feelings, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, thoughts, and behaviors
We then create a personalized treatment plan to manage each patient’s specific needs and relieve their symptoms. Our treatment options and other services include:
- Medication evaluation and management
- Medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, to treat symptoms
- Specialized education and support for patients, their families, and their caregivers about mental health conditions and how to manage care at home
- Individual and family counseling (psychotherapy) and support groups
- Crisis intervention and stabilization, when appropriate
- Access to physical health care in any specialty at UT Southwestern
To provide the best and most convenient experience for our patients, we offer telehealth visits as well as in-office visits. We also provide in-patient care when needed to patients in crisis.