Clinical and Research News
Elderly Not Immune to Schizophrenia
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 10 page 44-44

Although most people tend to think of "late-life schizophrenia" as pertaining to early-onset schizophrenia patients in their later years, it also includes those few individuals who develop schizophrenia later in life.

Robert Howard, M.D., a professor of old age psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, underscored this fact at the Ninth International Congress on Schizophrenia Research.

The kind of schizophrenia that strikes for the first time later in life, Howard explained, does not seem to be the same illness that strikes at an early age. For example, it may include paranoid delusions, but not negative symptoms and formal thought disorder. Thus it is better called "late-onset schizophrenia" or "schizophrenia-like psychosis" than schizophrenia per se.

It can strike swiftly. For instance, said Howard, there was a 65-year-old British man who seemed perfectly normal and happy from all appearances—he had a distinguished war record, a wife, and children. But then, one day, while changing his clothes in a beach hut, he was overcome by a schizophrenic-like delusion—the "realization" that the police were after him.

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