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

  • Gary J. Kennedy
  • Jack Castro
  • Mason Chang
  • Jaimini Chauhan-James
  • Manuel Fishman
Psychiatry in Primary Care (BN Gaynes, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychiatry in Primary Care


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.


Comorbidity Geriatric Depression Anxiety Dementia Neurocognitive 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Gary J. Kennedy receives royalties for Geriatric Depression; A Clinical Guide from The Guilford Press and has received an honorarium from PlatformQ Medical Education.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary J. Kennedy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jack Castro
    • 1
  • Mason Chang
    • 1
  • Jaimini Chauhan-James
    • 1
  • Manuel Fishman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMontefiore Medical CenterBronxUSA
  2. 2.Albert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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