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Boomers with mental, substance abuse problems will challenge healthcare systems

August 16, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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A report by the Institute of Medicine notes that the current healthcare system is ill-equipped to  deal with the needs of older Americans with mental health or substance abuse MH/SA.  As baby boomers swell the ranks of the senior population, the treatment needs of those with MH/SA are complex.  In addition, these issues also involve other health problems, say researchers.

The report notes that the most prevalent issues are depressive disorder and dementia related, but substance abuse is also significant. Aging changes how alcohol and drugs are metabolized in older adults, which could be dangerous, which could lead to a risk of overdose.

Presently, the problem arises that MH/SA specialists are not trained in geriatrics and geriatric specialists have little training in MH/SA. The report notes that the number of MH/SU specialists trained to provide care in complex cases is small.

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