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Mental Health Specialist

Golden Oak Medicine -  - Geriatrics

Golden Oak Medicine

Geriatrics & Adult Medicine located in Asheville, NC

Mental health plays a significant role in older people’s well-being, but there is a lack of treatment in many health care settings. At Golden Oak Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina, Kate Marshall, MD, Golnosh Sharafsaleh, MD, MS, AGSF, FAAFP, and their team offer comprehensive treatment of a wide range of emotional problems. They address all mental health issues affecting people aged 55 and over, however impactful. To find out how they can help you, call Golden Oak Medicine or book an appointment online today.

Mental Health Q&A

What mental health problems affect older people?

Older people experience many of the same mental health problems as younger members of society, including:


Depression causes a persistently low mood and feelings of hopelessness, self-loathing, and other negative thoughts. It can range from being mild to major depressive disorder and suicidal thoughts, where the patient believes they no longer want to carry on.


There are several forms of anxiety, ranging from phobias – the irrational and extreme fear of a specific object or situation – to generalized anxiety disorder, where everything in life is a source of worry and fear.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

People with OCD cannot shift unpleasant thoughts (obsessions) from their minds. They develop coping mechanisms (compulsions) that become rituals they must perform to manage their thoughts.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD occurs when a person endures a traumatic event or experiences long-term abuse. It causes nightmares, flashbacks, depression, and anxiety that interfere with normal functioning.

Substance use disorders

Substance use disorders include drinking excessive quantities of alcohol to mask emotional pain and stress, and addiction to prescription medications.

What are the risk factors for mental health problems in older people?

Factors that increase the risk of problems like depression and anxiety in the elderly include:

Failing health

Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and many other serious conditions are increasingly common as you get older. It’s not unusual to have two or more of these problems, and they very often limit your physical abilities and cause chronic pain. Living with health problems like these can lead to depression.

Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia also affect mental health. They can cause depression and may trigger emotional episodes like outbursts of anger in some people.

Medical history

If you’ve had mental health issues in the past, you’re more likely to suffer a problem in later life.


Many older people take several or multiple medications. Some medicines increase your likelihood of experiencing emotional problems. Others, like prescription painkillers, are a common source of addiction.


Many older people are lonely. They may have lost their partner, live far from their children, or not have any close family. Mobility challenges can make it hard to form friendships, leading to social isolation.

How are mental health problems treated?

Golden Oak Medicine offers a range of services for treating mental health disorders. These include medication management (reviewing the medicines you’re taking to reduce side effects and the risk of addiction), various forms of psychotherapy (talk therapies), and prescribing drugs like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Golden Oak Medicine can also assist with problems like social isolation and help you manage any underlying medical conditions to optimize your wellness.

To find out more about treatments for mental health conditions, call Golden Oak Medicine or book an appointment online today.