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Special Articles   |    
Sleep disorders in the elderly
Am J Psychiatry 1988;145:1369-1378.
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Abstract

In their own practices and in consultation, requests to psychiatrists to evaluate and treat sleep disorders in the elderly are common. The five million elders in this country receive 35%-40% of the sedative- hypnotics prescribed, despite the fact that they represent only 12% of the population. Since their sleep disturbances are usually secondary to medical, psychiatric, pharmacologic, or environmental causes, they should receive a thorough evaluation and differential diagnostic approach. Before prescribing a sedative-hypnotic, one should consider nonpharmacologic interventions and education about normal sleep changes due to aging. As a foundation for the judicious prescribing of sedative- hypnotics, the pharmacokinetic changes associated with aging are discussed.

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