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What Causes Late Onset Schizophrenia

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What Is Late-Onset Schizophrenia? | Schizophrenia

Antipsychotic medications are the first-line treatments for function-impairing delusions and hallucinations. Typical antipsychotics such as haloperidol and chlorpromazine are effective in treating these symptoms, but they have significant side effects including extrapyramidal symptoms and anti-cholinergic effects .

Although less studied, there is an emerging literature on the role of atypical antipsychotics in demented individuals with psychosis. Due to the lower incidence of side effects than with typical antipsychotics, atypical agents have emerged as the first-line treatments for these symptoms. Placebo-controlled trials of risperidone and olanzapine have shown a decrease in psychosis . In a nonblinded trial, quetiapine at a mean dosage of 100 mg per day decreased psychotic symptoms at 12 months.

Although atypical antipsychotics have fewer side effects than traditional agents, attention must still be given to adverse effects, including orthostatic hypotension, anticholinergic symptoms, sedation, weight gain, and prolongation of the QT interval. Clozapine is the most anticholinergic of the atypical antipsychotics and the most prone to causing orthostatic hypotension. All agents may cause sedation and QT prolongation. Clozapine and olanzapine are most strongly associated with weight gain in nondemented patients, but there has been little study regarding their effects on weight in patients with dementia.

Women Tend To Develop Symptoms Of Schizophrenia Later Than Men And Often Exhibit Different Symptoms

Article by:SymptomsChallengesTreatment

There is no disparity in the occurrence and prevalence of schizophrenia between men and women, though schizophrenia is more closely associated with younger men. This may be due to the fact that women are more likely to experience the onset of schizophrenia later than men. Women tend to develop symptoms in their late 20s whereas the onset in men is typically in their early 20s.1 Also, because women with schizophrenia tend to be more socially active, their schizophrenia may be less detectable.

What Are The Signs Of Late

Worldwide, Schizophrenia is one of the top fifteen leading causes of disability in teenagers and young adults, typically affecting individuals under the age of thirty. Its a tragic fate to befall any young person. But have you noticed an older loved one beginning to exhibit the symptoms?

If you think your loved one is well past the age of onset for schizophrenia, you may be mistaken. Late-Onset Schizophrenia is discussed very little and has become a problem that often goes ignored. This is to the detriment of those who may be suffering.

Early treatment from experienced mental health practitioners can make a major difference in the lives of adults experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia at an older age.

Do you know what symptoms to look out for? Read on to learn about how late-onset schizophrenia differs from traditional schizophrenia. Find out what you can do if you suspect that someone you love may be suffering.

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What Causes Late Onset Schizophrenia

As with early-onset schizophrenia, family history is the most common cause of very lateonset schizophrenia. Despite their limitations, family history studies almost all show a familial risk of very lateonset schizophrenia lower than that of early-onset patients but greater than that of the general population.

Early Signs Of Schizophrenia: The Warning Symptoms

(PDF) Late

It should be noted that many of these symptoms can be indicators of something as simple as major depression. However, when odd behaviors are coupled with isolation, preoccupation with religion, and the person drops out of all normal societal functions, this is a red flag for the possible development of schizophrenia.

It should be noted that many of these symptoms listed are not necessarily indicators of schizophrenia alone. There are many people that withdraw from social activities, become depressed, and sleep a lot because they are anxious, have depression, or another mental illness. However, if you experience many of these symptoms together, it is a likely indicator of schizophrenia.

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Early Warning Signs And Symptoms

Usually, a person with schizophrenia has gradual changes in their thoughts and perceptions. Families are often the first to see early signs of psychosis and schizophrenia in a loved one.

Before the first episode of psychosis, you go through what is known as a premorbid period. This is the 6 months before the first symptoms of psychosis. During this period, you might experience gradual changes.

Although sleep disturbances are not included in the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, people with the condition consistently report them.

Early warning signs include:

Cognitive Symptoms & Thinking Problems

These symptoms reflect how well the personâs brain learns, stores, and uses information.

Someone with schizophrenia might have a hard time with their working memory. For example, they may not be able to keep track of different kinds of facts at the same time, like a phone number plus instructions.

Along with having trouble paying attention, it can be hard for them to organize their thoughts and make decisions.

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Seeking Support And Stability Through Long

Healing begins, always, with an accurate diagnosis. A long-term, dual-diagnosis treatment facility is the best place to establish such a diagnosis for your loved one, as the medical staff are specifically trained to identify and treat co-occurring disorders accurately and effectively. Residential treatment is a safe, healing environment where a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and nurses will help you and your loved one understand and address the roots of both their trauma and their psychosis.

Residential treatment addresses all aspects of the healing process by taking a comprehensive approach to recovery. Psychiatric experts will work with your loved one to find the right medications and doses to manage and mitigate the effects of trauma and the symptoms of schizophrenia. A variety of therapeutic options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and experiential therapies, will help support your loved ones recovery on a mental and emotional level and teach them healthy coping strategies to increase their quality of life and level of independence. Social therapies, such as group therapy and family therapy sessions, will help them work on improving social skills and healing familial relationships.

Etiology Of Late Onset Schizophrenia

Late Onset Schizophrenia: An Advantage

The cause of late onset schizophrenia is even more perplexing than its counterpart. Theories about the etiology of late onset schizophrenia include age-related neurological deterioration and environmentally triggered onset. In high risk patients , individuals are usually monitored for early signs of the disorder, however in the case of late-onset schizophrenia, it is assumed that the high risk period is passed and the late onset is attributed to stimulus from an environmental stressor that is triggering a predisposition for the disorder. Interesting to note is that patients diagnosed with schizophrenia past their 40s show significantly more neurostructural damage than their early-diagnosed peers. For example ventricle enlargement and loss of gray matter volume is significantly increased. Etiologically, this validates the theory of environmental influence and the need of an environmental stressor to trigger the onset of the disorder.

Many researchers believe that individuals diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia are pre-disposed for the condition and do not express any symptoms until later in life when environmental stressors such as retirement, the loss of children to adulthood, the death of parents or peers, or mid-life crises strike. An interesting thing to note from this trend is the onset of schizophrenia during transitional periods in an individuals life. It gives a clue to the broad etiology of schizophrenia in general.

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The 10 Most Common Signs Of Schizophrenia

Hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and behaviors knowing these signs and what they look like can be a good step toward the right treatment plan.

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that affects a persons behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

The condition is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability in the world. Its usually diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30, after a person has experienced their first psychotic episode. Its rare for a young child to have schizophrenia.

But symptoms of schizophrenia develop slowly over time. You may begin to see signs in early teen years, such as:

  • experiencing a significant drop in grades or job performance
  • suddenly having trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • becoming suspicious of others or having paranoid thoughts
  • spending more and more time alone
  • having new passionate ideas that seem strange to others
  • having strange feelings or seeming like they experience no feelings at all
  • having less or no interest in how they look
  • finding it difficult to tell the difference between whats real and whats not real
  • being unable to speak clearly or struggling to communicate with others

Symptoms usually fall into one of three categories:

People with schizophrenia have a variety of symptoms that can range in severity. The 10 most common ones are:

What Is The Differential Diagnosis Of Late

The most common causes of new-onset psychosis in later life are dementia-related syndromes with psychosis, delirium or drug-induced psychosis, and primary psychiatric disorders, most commonly depression. Dementia is the greatest risk factor for development of psychotic symptoms in the geriatric population both as a result of dementia itself and through an increased vulnerability to delirium.

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The Most Common Early Warning Signs Include:

  • Depression, social withdrawal
  • Hostility or suspiciousness, extreme reaction to criticism
  • Deterioration of personal hygiene
  • Inability to cry or express joy or inappropriate laughter or crying
  • Oversleeping or insomnia forgetful, unable to concentrate
  • Odd or irrational statements strange use of words or way of speaking
  • While these warning signs can result from a number of problemsnot just schizophreniathey are cause for concern. When out-of-the-ordinary behavior is causing problems in your life or the life of a loved one, seek medical advice. If schizophrenia or another mental problem is the cause, getting treatment early will help.

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    What The Warning Signs Look Like

    clinical features of late onset schizophrenia and ftd

    You may notice changes in yourself before your friends and family do. Once your loved ones do become aware, they might try to explain these changes as “just a phase” you’re going through or due to something stressful in your life. Because of that, many people don’t seek help until later on, when more severe symptoms start to emerge.

    Signs that you may be in a prodrome include trouble with your memory or problems with paying attention and staying focused.

    Mood swings and depression can happen. You may have anxiety and feel guilty about things or mistrust others. You could even have thoughts of suicide.

    Another sign is lack of energy. You could have weight loss or no interest in meals. Sleep problems could crop up.

    You might lose interest in things you once cared about and back away from socializing with family and friends. There could be a drop-off in your level of achievements at work or school.

    Your friends may notice changes in how you look. You might not be keeping up with hygiene like you used to.

    Some other things that you or others might become aware of:

    • Hearing or seeing something that’s not there
    • A strange way of writing or talking
    • An angry, scared, or bizarre response to loved ones
    • Extreme interest in religion or the occult

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    Schizophrenia In Later Life: Patient Characteristics And Treatment Strategies

    Tarek K. Rajji, MDPsychiatric Times

    With the prevalence of schizophrenia in older adults set to double and reach 1.1 million people in the US by 2025, greater attention to research and policy regarding this population is needed.

    A global health crisis is emerging because of the changing demographics and care of older adults with schizophrenia. Individuals aged 55 years and older will soon account for 25% or more of the total population of patients with schizophrenia worldwide.1 Among persons aged 60 years and older with mental and substance-use disorders, schizophrenia ranks third in causes of disability-adjusted life-years.2 Older adults with schizophrenia also have a substantial impact on health care costs, with an estimated greater expenditure per person compared with most other medical and psychiatric disorders.

    Research on older patients with schizophrenia has been neglected roughly 1% of the schizophrenia literature focuses on this population.2 With the prevalence of schizophrenia in older adults set to double and reach 1.1 million people in the US by 2025 and 10 million worldwide by 2050, greater attention to research and policy regarding this population is needed.

    Morbidity and mortality

    Positive and negative symptoms





    Nonpharmacologic psychosocial interventions



    Positive Symptoms Of Schizophrenia: Things That Might Start Happening

    Positive symptoms are highly exaggerated ideas, perceptions, or actions that show the person canât tell whatâs real from what isnât. Here the word “positive” means the presence of symptoms. They can include:

    • Hallucinations. People with schizophrenia might hear, see, smell, or feel things no one else does. The types of hallucinations in schizophrenia include:
    • Auditory. The person most often hears voices in their head. They might be angry or urgent and demand that they do things. It can sound like one voice or many. They might whisper, murmur, or be angry and demanding.
    • Visual. Someone might see lights, objects, people, or patterns. Often itâs loved ones or friends who are no longer alive. They may also have trouble with depth perception and distance.
    • Olfactory and gustatory. This can include good and bad smells and tastes. Someone might believe theyâre being poisoned and refuse to eat.
    • Tactile. This creates a feeling of things moving on your body, like hands or insects.
  • Delusions. These are beliefs that seem strange to most people and are easy to prove wrong. The person affected might think someone is trying to control their brain through TVs or that the FBI is out to get them. They might believe they’re someone else, like a famous actor or the president, or that they have superpowers. Types of delusions include:
  • Persecutory delusions. The feeling someone is after you or that youâre being stalked, hunted, framed, or tricked.
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    The Public Health Challenge

    A recent, report by Bartcls and colleagues examined the annual health care costs for adults with schizophrenia, depression, dementia, or physical illnesses in one small US state . In general, except, for dementia, costs of care increased with the age of patients, with those over 85 incurring the greatest per-capita expense. Among people aged 65 or over, annual per-person care for those with schizophrenia, $40 000 or more, was the most, costly: . The patients with schizophrenia incurred higher annual costs in all age-groups compared with depression or medical conditions. The cost-by-age data were different for patients with dementia, where younger patients incurred higher costs. However, among patients over age 65, the cost of care was higher for the patients with schizophrenia compared with those with dementia.

    First Episode Of Psychosis

    Part 5 – Schizophrenia Education Series – Onset and Course

    The first episode of psychosis refers to when you first show signs of being unable to distinguish whats real from what isnt. It typically involves hallucinations and delusions, which can seem very real to the person experiencing them.

    Experts say the average age at which people first experience psychosis is 24 years old. The oldest age of onset was 63 years and the youngest age was 3 years.

    Acting quickly to connect yourself or your loved one with the right treatment during early psychosis can help dramatically. If you are a family member or friend, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional on behalf of the person you care about.

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    What Is The Typical Age Of Onset For Schizophrenia

    Men and women are equally likely to get this brain disorder, but guys tend to get it slightly earlier. On average, men are diagnosed in their late teens to early 20s. Women tend to get diagnosed in their late 20s to early 30s. People rarely develop schizophrenia before they’re 12 or after they’re 40.

    Negative Symptoms Of Schizophrenia: Things That Might Stop Happening

    Negative symptoms refer to an absence or lack of normal mental function involving thinking, behavior, and perception. You might notice:

    • Lack of pleasure. The person may not seem to enjoy anything anymore. A doctor will call this anhedonia.
    • Trouble with speech. They might not talk much or show any feelings. Doctors call this alogia.
    • Flattening: The person with schizophrenia might seem like they have a terrible case of the blahs. When they talk, their voice can sound flat, like they have no emotions. They may not smile normally or show usual facial emotions in response to conversations or things happening around them. A doctor might call this affective flattening.
    • Withdrawal. This might include no longer making plans with friends or becoming a hermit. Talking to the person can feel like pulling teeth: If you want an answer, you have to really work to pry it out of them. Doctors call this apathy.
    • Struggling with the basics of daily life. They may stop bathing or taking care of themselves.
    • No follow-through. People with schizophrenia have trouble staying on schedule or finishing what they start. Sometimes they can’t get started at all. A doctor might call this avolition.

    Depression has some of the same symptoms, too. They can be hard to spot, especially in teens, because even healthy teens can have big emotional swings between highs and lows.

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    When Schizophrenia Symptoms Start

    Symptoms usually start to develop in early adulthood, between late adolescence and the early 30s. The disorder typically becomes evident slightly earlier in men than in women. Symptoms often emerge between late adolescence and the early 20s in men and between the early 20s and the early 30s in women.

    How To Support A Family Member With Schizophrenia

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    Good support begins with early diagnosis and treatment, but if you have a loved one with schizophrenia, you will be coping with it for years to come. The most important things you can do are to encourage treatment and support your loved one so that they stay in treatment. This is a chronic illness, and it requires lifelong professional management.

    You can also help your loved one by learning more about schizophrenia and encouraging and supporting them in making positive, healthy lifestyle changes. Several healthy habits support treatment and the management of symptoms:

    • Regular exercise to reduce stress and anxiety
    • Other healthy stress management tools such as meditation, breathing exercises, and regular yoga practice
    • A healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
    • Positive social experiences including support groups and time spent with understanding and supportive friends
    • A regular sleep schedule and at least eight hours of sleep per night
    • Avoidance of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes

    Schizophrenia can be a devastating mental illness, both for those diagnosed with it and their loved ones. Life can be better with schizophrenia with education, positive support, and ongoing, effective treatment. Interventions, especially early, make all the difference in how an individual lives with this illness.

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