Psychiatric conditions due to old age or organic disorders
In this chapter we shall be considering mainly psychiatric conditions which occur in old age; however, some of the dementias (degenerative illnesses) occur before the age of seventy and present similar pictures. The former are usually classified as the ‘senile illnesses’ and the latter the ‘pre-senile.’ When an old person becomes mentally ill, it is often felt that this must indicate some irreversible deterioration and that therefore there is very little that can be done for the patient. It is by no means inevitable that an old person with a psychiatric disorder must continue to deteriorate till death. Some mental illnesses which occur in old age are associated with a remarkably good recovery rate.