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Prevalence of paranoid symptomatology in the elderly and relationship to organic brain factors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020


M. Serrano Díaz de Otálora
Affiliation:
Departament of Psychiatry, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
J. Gómez-Arnau Ramírez
Affiliation:
Departament of Psychiatry, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
R. Martínez de Velasco
Affiliation:
Departament of Psychiatry, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
P. Artieda Urrutia
Affiliation:
Departament of Psychiatry, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain

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Abstract

Introduction

Psychotic diseases in the elderly are underdiagnosed due to the limited use of medical resources. Advanced age makes psychoses of any cause less pure and differentiated, since old age adds a cognitive-impairment component to the basal psychotic defect.

Objectives

We intend to estimate the prevalence of paranoid symptoms in older patients, and to study the many medical conditions associated with psychosis.

Methods

We conducted a literature review and we have performed a review of several clinical trials.

Results

We found 12.1% of paranoid symptoms in the elderly with cognitive impairment. In absence of this factor, we found a prevalence of 14.1% for suspicion tendencies, 6.9% for paranoid thoughts and 5.5% for evident delusions. These figures were significantly higher in old black people.

We present a table of the main medical conditions that can produce psychotic symptoms. Some cases of apparently typical delusional disorder can appear as a long-term complication of some of these diseases. If organic factors are subtle and long lasting, the clinical may reproduce a fairly typical delusional disorder and may respond to treatment with neuroleptic drugs.

Conclusions

It seems possible that organic brain factors are more common that we believe, becoming essential a comprehensive study of the old psychotic patient. We should pay more attention to psychotic symptoms in elderly patients and avoid conclusions based on cross-evaluations. Diagnosis will be defined by evolution in most of the cases.


Type
P02-257
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2011

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