Psychiatry of Old Age
Meet a Consultant
Dr Maria Moran, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist
I first considered becoming a Psychiatrist as a medical student, while completing my Psychiatry clinical attachment. It was the first time as a medical student that I felt part of the clinical team. I accompanied staff on domiciliary visits, to day hospitals and clinics, and spent time on the inpatient ward. I was able to follow the journey of the patient. I developed an understanding of the interplay of biological, psychological and social aspects of illness and of treatment.
The neurosciences always interested me, and I began to understand the relationship between science and personality, cognition, mood etc. I was laso very keen to maintain and use my skills in general medicine.
Old Age Psychiatry has given me an opportunity to focus on the aspects of Psychiatry that I enjoy most, such as the relationships between mental and physical health, the organic basis of mental illness and dementias, and the biopsychosocial approach to understanding and treating an individual presenting with psychiatric symptoms.
Psychiatry also provides an opportunity to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and to work in many different settings. During a typical working week I could be assessing patients in a specialised memory clinic, on a domiciliary assessment for someone living in very poor conditions, providing group therapy for patients with anxiety disorders, or attending a case conference with colleagues in primary care and/or the general hospital.
I also enjoy the many opportunities I have to teach. This includes teaching medical students, psychiatrists in training, nurses, other health care professionals, carers and mah different professional groups about ageing and mental health.
There are also opportunities for research in Old Age Psychiatry, in particular working with our colleagues in other neuroscience specialties to enhance our understanding of the causes and treatment of the various types of dementia. The diversity of the clinical and academic work in Old Age Psychiatry helps to maintain my motivation and enjoyment of the work.