Geriatric Psychiatry

Internal Medicine & Geriatrics located in Herndon, VA

Geriatric Psychiatry

Older people often suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and are more likely to develop dementia. If you or someone you care for shows signs of declining mental health, visit Richard Hilburn, MD, FACP, at Goals of Care, PLLC, in Herndon, Virginia. Dr. Hilburn and his team specialize in geriatric psychiatry, providing holistic care that addresses each patient’s emotional, social, and daily living needs. Call Goals of Care, PLLC, to request a geriatric psychiatry consultation or book an appointment online today.

Geriatric Psychiatry Q & A

What is geriatric psychiatry?

Geriatric psychiatry focuses on the emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems that older people may experience.

Mental health problems in seniors are largely the same as what younger people experience. However, older people are more vulnerable to specific disorders, and some conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, are prevalent in the elderly.

What conditions does geriatric psychiatry treat?

Psychiatric conditions that are most common in older people include:

  • Dementia 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance use disorder

Lifelong mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder don’t go away as you age, but the symptoms can change over time. They may even worsen after you’ve been controlling them well for years.

Geriatric psychiatry can also help with problems, such as grief and loss, that are more common in older people who outlive their friends and family.

Why would I have a geriatric psychiatric condition?

Factors that increase your likelihood of developing a mental health condition in later life include:

Poor health

You’re more likely to have chronic health conditions like osteoarthritis, sight and hearing loss, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. You might also suffer a stroke or heart attack.

These problems can limit mobility, affect your ability to complete daily tasks and cause chronic pain, which makes you vulnerable to psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety.


Poor health often means many older people take multiple medications. Some can cause side effects and trigger emotional disturbances. Others, like prescription opioid painkillers, increase your risk of substance use disorder.

Social isolation

Many people are lonely in older age. They may have lost their partner or friends and live far from their children. Mobility problems make it more challenging to get out and form new friendships.

What treatments help people with geriatric psychiatric conditions?

Goals of Care, PLLC, offers comprehensive geriatric psychiatry treatments, including:

  • Antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Grief counseling
  • Addiction medicine

The team’s holistic approach considers everything in your life that could adversely affect your health. They offer advice and support to improve your nutrition, help you sleep better if you have insomnia, find ways to stay active and overcome barriers to making new friends. They also offer spiritual and psycho-emotional health support.

Call Goals of Care, PLLC, today or book an appointment online for expert, respectful geriatric psychiatry services.