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Epidemiology, Etiology, and Treatment of Geriatric Mania

William M. McDonald, MD

Published: November 30, 2000

Article Abstract

Few prospective studies have focused on elderly patients with mania, despite the rapidly agingpopulation and the difficulties encountered in treating older patients with manic symptoms. Retrospectivestudies generally have found that the number of new cases of mania and the prevalence ofmania in the population decrease with age, although there is evidence to contradict this widely heldbelief. The diagnosis of mania in the elderly is confounded by the overlap of manic symptoms withother syndromes that occur with aging, including dementia, delirium, and medical illnesses. The treatmentof mania is more difficult in the elderly, and new treatments such as the atypical antipsychoticsand the anticonvulsants take on a more important role in treatment regimens for older patients.

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