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Can Schizophrenia Lead To Dementia

Emergence Of Psychosis In Later Life

Dementia: Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis â Psychiatry | Lecturio

An important and ongoing issue is the relationship between the emergence of psychotic symptoms in later life and the risk of incident cognitive decline and dementia. As reflected in the Jeste and Finkel criteria for psychosis in AD, psychotic symptoms were included only when they emerged after a dementia diagnosis. However, psychotic symptoms have been observed in people with MCI. Specifically, hallucinations are present in 1.32.6% and delusions in 3.110.5% of patients with MCI. Most,,, but not all, longitudinal studies have found an increased risk of dementia associated with psychosis. For the negative studies, low baseline psychosis frequency in the study sample and short median duration of follow-up might have been confounding factors. Although more research is required, the evidence to date suggests that psychosis in MCI is part of the neurodegenerative disease process, supporting the inclusion of MCI or mild neurocognitive disorders in the new IPA criteria.

Neurobiological data are also emerging to link late-life psychosis to neurodegeneration. For example, a post-mortem study has shown an association between argyrophilic grain disease a four-repeat tauopathy and psychosis in individuals aged 65 years. In this age group, people with psychosis had sixfold increased odds of having this neurodegenerative condition compared with non-psychiatric controls.

Personal Consequences Of Untreated Mental Illness

The cost of untreated mental illness to society and public health are significant and important. Individuals who suffer these consequences feel them much more personally. Re-hospitalization and the financial costs of emergency care are important to consider, but the impact of not getting adequate treatment reach much farther:

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Do People With Schizophrenia Develop Dementia

In his Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie of 1893, Kraepelin used the term dementia praecox for schizophrenia because of its onset in early life and the characteristic development of mental enfeeblement. He emphasised the progressive deterioration of cognition but noted that memory was spared. He distinguished this condition from paraphrenia in which cognitive impairment did not occur.

Over a century later, there is uncertainty about the course of cognitive function with ageing in schizophrenia. Early studies of the progression of dementia over the lifespan in individuals with schizophrenia have shown inconsistent results, although they were limited by a lack of standardised diagnostic criteria and specific evaluation techniques.

In a study of long-term in-patients with schizophrenia who had survived into old age, Reference Harvey, Parella and WhiteHarvey et al followed up a group for 30 months using the Clinical Dementia Rating . Over this period, 30% of the patients deteriorated, from a baseline of minimal or mild cognitive and functional impairment to impairments severe enough to warrant a secondary diagnosis of dementia.

Although many studies suggest a model of schizophrenia as a progressive dementing illness, others have supported the view that cognitive impairment in schizophrenia fits the model of a static encephalopathy .

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Does Schizophrenia Get Worse As You Age

For some people, schizophrenia symptoms and episodes may grow worse with time or age, particularly if they avoid treatment or professional help. However, when schizophrenia manifests at a younger age, symptoms and behavior are generally more extreme than with later-onset schizophrenia. That means if schizophrenia symptoms develop later in life, theyre generally less severe than when they develop at a younger age.

The most important thing to remember is that schizophrenia doesnt necessarily get worse with age. Preliminary research has found that individuals living with schizophrenia dont experience cognitive decline any faster than the general population. Psychosocial function may even improve with age, and most individuals experience improved quality of life as they grow older.

For people committed to recovery and following a medication regimen, a long-term balanced lifestyle is possible with preventative treatment, even as they grow older.

Are you or someone you care about struggling with symptoms of schizophrenia? Find out if PCH is the right place to find the help and hope youre looking for. Is PCH Right for You?

Does Schizophrenia Ever Go Away

Frontotemporal Dementia vs Schizophrenia

Like many of the mental issues we treat, schizophrenia never truly goes away in the sense that we have a cure for it. The good news is that individuals diagnosed as schizophrenic have gone on to live successful, productive lives after seeking treatment.

While schizophrenia treatment outcomes can be difficult to predict, recovery is possible. Treatment is generally most successful when someone receives treatment immediately following their first schizophrenic episode.

Many have learned how to successfully manage and overcome schizophrenia symptoms, but because the underlying causes of schizophrenia arent fully understood, schizophrenia remains a lifetime diagnosis that requires continuous management to live a balanced, stable life.

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Whats The Outlook For An Individual With Schizophrenia

The challenges facing people with schizophrenia are plentiful and often severe. But with proper treatment, some of the more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, may be made more manageable.

Lifelong treatment is necessary and medication needs may change through the years. Dosages may have to be adjusted and certain medications may need to be changed, added, or subtracted, depending on how the individual responds.

A study in the journal Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria suggests that about one in seven people with schizophrenia can achieve functional recovery. With no cure in sight, that means the majority of people with schizophrenia will have to deal with symptoms for the rest of their lives.

Schizophrenia should be considered a treatable disease, though the effectiveness of treatment can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Access to proper healthcare is essential, as is commitment to a treatment regimen.

Individuals who are reluctant or unable to take their medications regularly and follow through on other components of their treatment may need a family member or health aide to assist them. The severity of schizophrenia also varies, so expectations of symptom management and quality of life need to be tempered based on the nature of the individuals condition.

Reassure Without Asking Questions

Tell them that youll help them look for an item if they think its been moved or stolen. If theres a simple answer, share your thoughts, but dont overwhelm them with clever arguments or a lengthy explanation. If youve been accused of never visiting them or being unfaithful, try not to take it to heart. Accusations like this often stem from a fear of being abandoned. Once again, provide reassurance and make it clear that youre sticking with them.

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Symptoms For Dementia Sufferers

Alzheimers may also co-exist with psychotic conditions. Older adults who have schizophrenia are just as likely to develop AD as those who have no severe mental illness. They are also at a higher risk for depression, translating to a possible trifecta of co-occurring mental disorders. Symptoms of these disorders include:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Disinterest in people and previously-enjoyed activities
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety about change, going out of the house, strangers, etc.
  • Feelings of suspicion or paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances

What Are The Symptoms

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Mental health professionals classify most schizophrenia symptoms as either positive or negative. Other symptoms involve cognition and inappropriate motor behaviors.

  • Positive symptoms include hallucinations and delusions, both of which can often be managed with medications. They arent considered positive because they are helpful or healthy, but rather because they appear because certain regions of the brain are activated.
  • Negative symptoms appear to stem from diminished activation of certain parts of the brain, and dont usually respond as well to medical therapy as positive symptoms. Negative symptoms include those that interfere with normal, healthy functioning. They include problems interacting with other people and little desire to form social connections, as well as the inability to show emotions and feel pleasure and rewards.
  • Cognition challenges associated with schizophrenia include confusion and disorganized speech. Thinking and verbal skills can become impaired, so, for example, an answer to a question may not make sense to the person asking the question.
  • Abnormal behaviors and motor skills problems can range from agitation and impatience to silliness and other childlike traits. A persons body language may not match their words, while in other situations, someone with schizophrenia may not be able to formulate an answer or may be moving excessively, so communication and focus become even greater challenges.

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Latest Mental Health News

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 30, 2014 — Older adults who have schizophrenia appear to face a higher risk of getting dementia, new research suggests.

“The rates of dementia in those with schizophrenia in the study were twice that of non-schizophrenic patients,” said lead researcher Hugh Hendrie, a Regenstrief Institute investigator and a scientist at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.

On the other hand, while those with schizophrenia were also more likely to develop other health problems, they were less likely to get cancer.

The study is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

As the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia have improved, those with the mental illness are living longer, researchers noted. But there has been little information about how they fare with other conditions, such as heart problems and dementia, as they age.

So Hendrie’s team, from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University, looked at the medical records of over 31,000 older adults, average age 70, who received care from an urban public health system, including a mental health center, from 1999 to 2008.

Over the 10-year span, they zeroed in on 757 adults who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia from a mental health center. .

The researchers evaluated the rates of common conditions, health use costs and death rates.

Those with schizophrenia were also more likely to die during the follow-up period.

Impacts On Mental Health

When people with schizophrenia live without adequate treatment, their mental health can worsen. Not only can the signs of schizophrenia get more severe, but they can also develop other mental health disorders, including:

Sometimes the comorbid disorders cause symptoms that worsen the persons schizophrenia and vice versa. For example, someone may have delusions about being watched due to schizophrenia. Then, the person may develop OCD and believe they need to complete certain rituals to stop the people they believe are watching them.

While the severity of the symptoms vary, some people may have serious comorbid disorders. In some cases, people with untreated schizophrenia and other mental health disorders can experience suicidal thoughts or attempts. If you or someone you love has suicidal thoughts, do one of the following:

  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Text CONNECT to 741741

4.9 percent of people with schizophrenia die by suicide, which is much higher than the rate in the general population.

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Assessment Of Social And Occupational Functioning

Both DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for dementia include impaired social and occupational functioning. It is therefore necessary to establish a decline in social functioning to make a diagnosis of dementia. However, such impairment may also occur as negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and the differentiation of negative symptoms from a functional decline needs careful assessment. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale may be useful for the identification of negative symptoms. The Social Adaptive Functioning Evaluation scale is a 17-item scale that measures socialinterpersonal, instrumental and impulse-control deficits and it has a high interrater reliability. These tools may be particularly useful for patient follow-up and for developing treatment strategies.

The Two Dementias Of Schizophrenia


Depending on the particular theoretical orientation of different researchers, thepsychopathological status in schizophrenia can be defined on acategorical or on a dimensionalbasis.10 Thetwo orientations are not mutually exclusive, and each has its merits andfrailties. The prevailing schemes have favored the categorical view, which wastranslated by DSM-IV into 5 subtypes: paranoid, catatonic, disorganized,undifferentiated, and residual. Regardless of the particular subtype, however,dementia develops more frequently in patients with kraepelinian schizophrenia,i.e., those who have shown continuous dependence on others for obtaining thebasic necessities of daily living for more than five years despite adequatetreatment.13Dimensional classifications spring from factorial analyses of large numbers ofpatients and have provided models with 3 to 5 factors. These factors regularlyinclude a psychotic, a disorganized, and a negative symptom cluster.

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Mental Illness And Dementia: Similarities And Differences

In many ways, mental illness can manifest the same symptoms of dementia, and vice versa. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also some pretty critical differences. If you have a loved one in hospice in San Francisco and elsewhere who is suffering from one of the two, youll want to read on. To recognize Mental Illness Awareness Week , we will use this blog to explain the similarities and differences between mental illness and dementia.

Each year, millions of Americans live with a mental health condition, but its important to remember that mental illness affects everyone either in a direct or indirect way through friends, family or coworkers, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness . Despite the reach and prevalence of mental illness, though, stigma and misunderstanding are still widespread. Couple that misunderstanding with the fact that mental illness can imitate the symptoms of dementia, and vice versa, and you have a serious, pervasive problem in this country.

Ainvolvement Of Three Brain Systems

Schizophrenia1 is a psychiatric disorder that describes a mental illness characterized by impairments in three brain systems: impairments in the executive system, such as paranoid or bizarre delusions2 or disorganized speech and thinking, impairments in the sensory systems, such as auditory hallucinations, and impairments in affective system such as blunted emotions. Due to involvement of different brain systems in pathogenesis of the disorder there is debate regarding whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. For this reason, Eugen Bleuler3 termed the disease the schizophrenias when he coined the name. Schizophrenia is a devastating illness that affects approximately 0.4â0.6 per cent of the worldâs population. Affected individuals frequently come to clinical attention during late adolescence or early adulthood. About 10 per cent of those diagnosed with schizophrenia eventually commit suicide and most experience a lifetime disability such as long-term unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. As a result, schizophrenia is associated with a substantial burden for the families of those affected.

Lisa T. Eyler Zorrilla, Dilip V. Jeste, in, 2002

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How Can I Manage Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

Treatment for schizophrenia depends largely on how often you experience symptoms and how intense they are. Antipsychotic medications, taken as pills or liquids, can help reduce the intensity of symptoms.

Injectable medications administered once or twice each month may also be appropriate, especially for people who find it hard to stick to a daily medication schedule.

The National Institute of Mental Health recommends using clozapine to treat people whose symptoms do not improve with other antipsychotics.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive remediation interventions may help ease certain negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction, especially when combined with medication use.

Psychosocial training may help some people with schizophrenia function in everyday settings, including school, work, and family situations. Family education and support are also important for a well-rounded treatment plan.

What Is Schizophrenia Regression

Dementia & Antipsychotics

When following a properly regimented medication plan, avoiding mind- or mood-altering substances, and productively dealing with underlying trauma, schizophrenia regression is rare. Many individuals experience improved quality of life as long as they follow their treatment program.

However, if someone is following their treatment plan and symptoms suddenly become worse, it could be a sign of schizophrenia regression, and the approach to treatment may need to be adjusted. It can be challenging to find the best type or dosage of schizophrenia medication for each individual, and if symptoms dont improve, its important to talk to the prescribing doctor about other options before choosing to end treatment altogether.

Some individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia may choose to discontinue treatment, believing that theyre better or no longer need medication or help. When that happens, the symptoms often return and may even grow worse. The best option is to stay the course and adjust treatment approaches as needed. Once the individual has achieved a stable baseline, they simply have to take maintenance medication to live a balanced life.

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Data Abstraction And Quality Assessment

The two authors independently extracted the data. If there was disagreement, a colleague was consulted to resolve the disagreement. The following data were extracted from each study: the first authors family name, year of publication, study design, country, location, number of participants, number of dementia cases, sex, mean age, follow-up time, assessment of schizophrenia and dementia, adjusted covariates, and study quality. The NOS criteria were used to evaluate the quality of the included original articles. The quality of studies was evaluated in the following three major components: selection of the study group , quality of the adjustment for confounding , and assessment of outcome or exposure in the cohorts . Studies were graded on a high to low point scheme, with a good quality score if they met 78 points, fair if they met 46 points, and poor if they met 4 points.

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And, unlike Alzheimers disease, there are medications to treat Schizophrenia and significantly reduce the symptoms.

Though Alzheimers disease and schizophrenia are radically different disorders, new research suggests that each disorder affects the same areas of the brain.

When investigators at Oxford University examined subjects and performed MRI scans, they found that the regions of the brain that developed last were also the first to deteriorate with advanced age. These areas seem to be more vulnerable than the rest of the brain to both schizophrenia and Alzheimers, even though the two diseases have different origins and appear at almost opposite and very different times of life. Schizophrenia was once labeled premature dementia, and some researchers considered that the two conditions were linked. The Oxford study now confirms that the same regions of the brain are affected in Alzheimers disease and schizophrenia.

Questions about Alzheimers disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimers Services of the Capital Area, 334-7494, , or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.

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