Most older adults with schizophrenia who reside in the community have persistent, but generally not progressive, cognitive deficits. Low education levels, poor premorbid function, and more severe positive symptoms at baseline are associated with worse cognitive functioning at all ages.
Older patients with schizophrenia include individuals with an early-onset that persists into later life and those with a late onset of this condition. There are currently two generations of older adults with schizophrenia : the “old-old” (those 75 years and older) and “young-old” (aged 55 to 74 years).
Late-onset schizophrenia is diagnosed after the person is 45. People who have it are more likely to have symptoms like delusions and hallucinations . They’re less like to have negative symptoms, disorganized thoughts, impaired learning, or trouble understanding information.
Medical disorders may predispose elderly patients to develop psychotic symptoms . Common disorders including thyroid disease, diabetes, vitamin B12 and folate deficiency, sodium-potassium imbalance, sleep deprivation, and dehydration, as well as chronic illnesses have been associated with psychosis in the elderly .
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.
Certain drugs, particularly cannabis, cocaine, LSD or amphetamines, may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in people who are susceptible. Using amphetamines or cocaine can lead to psychosis, and can cause a relapse in people recovering from an earlier episode.
Most commonly though, people diagnosed with schizophrenia will hear multiple voices that are male, nasty, repetitive, commanding, and interactive, where the person can ask the voice a question and get some kind of answer.”
Try not to let your own discomfort, hesitations or anxieties (about what to do and what to say ) come into the picture, as this might make it harder for the person to relate to the conversation. Remember, a person with schizophrenia may not emote; this does not mean that they aren’t experiencing intense feelings.
In some people, schizophrenia appears suddenly and without warning. But for most, it comes on slowly, with subtle warning signs and a gradual decline in functioning, long before the first severe episode. Often, friends or family members will know early on that something is wrong, without knowing exactly what.
The takeaway The final stage , residual schizophrenia , still causes symptoms. But these aren’t as severe or disordered as the active phase . Treatment can help reduce symptoms and prevent relapses. As schizophrenia is a life-long condition, treatment will likely be necessary throughout life.
Research has shown that heredity or genetics can be an important contributing factor for the development of schizophrenia . Although the exact cause of this complex disorder is unknown, people who have relatives with schizophrenia tend to have a higher risk for developing it.
6 Celebrities with Schizophrenia Lionel Aldridge. Lionel Aldridge is perhaps best known for his role in helping the Green Bay Packers win two Super Bowl championships in the 1960s. Zelda Fitzgerald. Zelda Fitzgerald was most famous for being married to American modernist writer F. Peter Green. Darrell Hammond. John Nash . Skip Spence.
How do I deal with delusions ? Try not to overreact or get upset, even if, like the false accusation, the delusion is upsetting. In cases of mistaken identity, try offering some gentle cues. Let the person know you have heard his or her concern. “Tell me about that purse. Don’t argue. Take advantage of the passage of time.
Chronic pain, stress, and loneliness can lead to crankiness in elderly populations especially during times of transition, but seniors who are inexplicably cruel or aggressive may be suffering from deeper issues like physical pain, depression, or dementia that needs to be evaluated by a doctor.
Hallucinations are caused by changes in the brain which, if they occur at all, usually happen in the middle or later stages of the dementia journey. Hallucinations are more common in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s dementia but they can also occur in Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia .