Psychiatric and Medical Comorbidity in the Primary Care Geriatric Patient—An Update

Gary J. Kennedy, Jack Castro, Mason Chang, Jaimini Chauhan-James, Manuel Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The mental health needs of older primary care patients are now widely recognized if not widely addressed. The range of behavioral health approaches including co-locating psychiatrists and integrating mental health professionals as care managers into primary care sites is extensive and growing. Nonetheless the primary care provider remains the first line of defense against mental disorders, most commonly depression and anxiety that accompany and exacerbate common physical conditions. The excess, potentially avoidable disability that results from comorbidity makes it imperative that early recognition and evidence based intervention occur. Multi-morbidity and polypharmacy make intervention a challenge. Psychotherapy can help overcome comorbidity depression however the most accessible intervention would be an antidepressant FDA approved for both anxiety and depressive disorders. For all these reasons, a focus on physical conditions most commonly associated with mental disorders can foster early recognition before the older patient’s care becomes overwhelmingly complicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number62
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Geriatric
  • Neurocognitive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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