Geriatric psychiatry

Geriatric psychiatry, also known as geropsychiatry, psychogeriatrics or psychiatry of old age, is a subspecialty of psychiatry dealing with the study, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders in humans with old age.[1][2][3] As the population ages, particularly in developing countries, this field is becoming more needed. The diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia and depression[4][5] are two areas of this field. Geriatric psychiatry is an official subspecialty in psychiatry with a defined curriculum of study and core competencies.


The International Psychogeriatric Association is an international community of scientists and healthcare geriatric professionals working for mental health in aging.[6] International Psychogeriatrics is the official journal of the International Psychogeriatric Association.[7]

United Kingdom

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is responsible for training and certifying psychiatrists in the United Kingdom. Within the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry is responsible for training in Old Age Psychiatry. Doctors who have membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists can undertake a three or four year training programme to become a specialist in Old Age Psychiatry. There is currently a shortage of old age psychiatrists in the United Kingdom.[8]

United States

The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) is the national organization representing health care providers specializing in late life mental disorders. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry[9] is the official journal of the AAGP.[10] The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry both issue a board certification in geriatric psychiatry.[11][12]

After a 4-year residency in psychiatry, a psychiatrist can complete a one-year fellowship in geriatric psychiatry. Many fellowships in geriatric psychiatry exist.[13]


The geropsychiatric unit, the term for a hospital-based geriatric psychiatry program, was introduced in 1984 by Norman White MD, when he opened New England's first specialized program at a community hospital in Rochester, New Hampshire. White is a pioneer in geriatric psychiatry, being among the first psychiatrists nationally to achieve board certification in the field. The prefix psycho- had been proposed for the geriatric program, but White, knowing New Englanders' aversion to anything psycho- lobbied successfully for the name geropsychiatric rather than psychogeriatrics.

See also


  1. Barraclough, J.; Gill, D. (1996). Hughes' outline of modern psychiatry. (4th ed.) New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-96358-5
  2. Bowden, V.M.; Long, M.J. (1995). Geriatric psychiatry. Journal of the American Medical Association, 273, 1395.
  3. Harkins, S. (16 April 2003). "Glossary of Terms". Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  4. "Alzheimer's or depression: Could it be both? - Mayo Clinic". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  5. "Depression in older adults: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  6. International Psychogeriatric Association
  7. Psychogeriatrics journal
  8. Blewett, Charlotte; Milward, Kate; Bailey, Alex; McAlpine, Lynsey (undefined/ed). "Recruitment into old age psychiatry". BJPsych Bulletin: 1–5. doi:10.1192/bjb.2018.112. ISSN 2056-4694. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
  10. American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
  11. American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, geriatric psychiatry
  12. "Specialties & Subspecialties". American Osteopathic Association. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  13. Geriatric psychiatry fellowship
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