Treatment for 70 yr old w/Violent Behavior?
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Q:  Can a person around 70 yrs old with bipolar disorder (affected with brain shrinkage), behaving violently, be treated?

Dear Bh...
Sure. No doubt. Done it many times. The question seems to indicate some serious doubt on the part of the questioner, or perhaps a loss of hope. It's not enough for me to just say "yes" to a question like this, or doesn't seem like enough, anyway. 

You see, at age 70, if a person is violent, this is almost certainly a huge problem, right? Many people's lives are affected (I suppose that's true when a person of any age is violent). So the need to treat this in some way is also huge. So we've been doing this for years. Using things like Haldol and other older-generation antipsychotics to just damp things down, if necessary, but also sometimes to directly treat the problem. But when the violence is indeed actually coming from "bipolar disorder", then all the usual treatments are options. Often we start with Depakote, although nowadays many of the younger psychiatrists use the new-generation antipsychotics as well. Lots of options. I hope something -- one of these treatments, or something else -- works out soon. 

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2007

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