Theoretical Paper

Psychopathology Elements of Elderly Population

Author: Alina Dumitrescu Gruia
Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania

The frequency of mental illnesses increases proportionally with aging. Mental illnesses in the elderly are ranked second place after cardiovascular diseases, reaching up to 16% of the population over 70 years. In elderly, mental illnesses can be classified into two categories: 1) diseases that have a debut before aging, but not characteristic for old age; and 2) diseases that begin in old age with some specific issues - this category include regressive psychosis and late dementia. Dementia is a disease caused by the degeneration of the neuronal cell. Senile dementia occurs after age of 85-90 years. The long-term memory is frequently functional and the short-term memory is affected. Among the signs of dementia are mentioned: slow thinking and cognitive disturbances, irritability and nervousness, balance and coordination disorders, swallowing disorders, refusal to eat. Treatment is either medical (vitamines) or kinetic: reeducation of walking, recovery of balance and coordination, therapeutic walking, ergotherapy (Brouillet, 1997).

Keywords: older age, mental illnesses, senile dementia, acute confusional states, sleep disorders