Addressing Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Elderly Patients

Featuring Amber Hoberg, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC


In this video, Psych Congress Network's Tardive Dyskinesia Section Editor, Amber Hoberg, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, talks to Depression Care360 about the nuances of depression and bipolar disorder in elderly patients. Nurse Hoberg explains how symptoms manifest differently compared to younger patients, and the different approaches that may be appropriate for treatment of this patient population.

For more news and expert insights on depression, visit Depression Care360.     

Read the Transcript:

Question Card 1: How does depression manifest differently in elderly patients compared with younger patients?

Amber Hoberg, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC: The way that depression differs in the elderly from the younger patient is that elderly patients tend to have a lot more energy problems, so a lot of fatigue. They tend to have more anhedonia, so lack of enjoyment in things, as well as they tend to be more on the comorbid spectrum with anxiety and somatic disorders. That tends to be a little more prevalent in the elderly compared to younger adults, you tend to see more guilt, you tend to see more depression, really reports of depression, whereas in the elderly, it looks a little bit different. It also differs in the elderly woman versus the man as well. Men tend to be a lot more irritable. Women tend to be a lot more lack of energy and fatigue.

Question Card 2: What about bipolar disorder?

Nurse Hoberg: Bipolar disorder is still very similar in the types of symptoms that you would have with bipolar in the younger patient. The only big difference is that elderly patients actually have more depressive episodes in regards to their bipolar symptoms. As patients age, actually it becomes a little more protective, which means we need less medications and often the symptoms improve over time as patients age. We do see sometimes that they don't have the manic spells as often, but the depressive spells tend to still be such a problem in the elderly patient.

Amber Hoberg, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. She has been working for the past 12 years with the adult and geriatric populations treating all types of psychiatric conditions. Her background, as a Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse, includes outpatient, inpatient, group home, and nursing home/ALF settings. She currently works for Med Management Associates and Morning Star Family Medicine PLLC treating the chronically mentally ill in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

© 2023 HMP Global. All Rights Reserved.
Any views and opinions expressed are those of the author and/or participants and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy, or position of Psych Congress Network or HMP Global, their employees, and affiliates.