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"Should my uncle have a geriatric psychiatry consultation after the death of his wife?"


My uncle's wife died a year ago and he is still suffering. Should he see a psychiatrist?


Has your uncle had problems in his life or career related to depression or sorrow after his wife's death? Is he having problems with sleeping, eating, or enjoying things that otherwise he would have enjoyed in the past? Does he have any thoughts of harming himself or others? Have you noticed any changes in his personality? Does he have any problems with alcohol or other drugs? These are important questions to consider and have him discuss with his primary care doctor. He or she will be able to take the answers to these questions, along with his medical history, presenting symptoms and clinical exam, and decide upon the appropriate work up for your uncle. This may include labs tests or imaging studies, and perhaps even a referral to a specialist depending on what is found.

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It is normal to have some grief and suffering after the loss of a loved one, but it is important to note whether or not your uncle is having depression that is affecting other parts of his life. If this is indeed the case, then it is important that he is evaluated further for this by his primary care doctor.

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