Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Diogenes syndrome and autistic spectrum disorder

  • Matthew Sadlier (a1), Colm Cooney (a2), Eimer Philbin-Bowman (a3) and Aideen Lewis (a4)

Abstract

Diogenes syndrome or senile squalor syndrome has been described in the psychiatric literature with an associated mental illness in between one half and two thirds of the cases cited. The occurrence of the syndrome in the absence of a psychiatric disorder has received much attention with many hypotheses proposed. We present the case of a 72-year-old man living for many years in domestic squalor whose presentation, neuropsychological profile and history suggest an underlying autistic spectrum disorder. We are not aware of any similar case in an older adult reported in the medical literature. The co-occurrence of these two conditions is an intriguing one as certain key features of autistic spectrum disorder may predispose to Diogenes syndrome.

Copyright

References

Hide All
1.Macmillan, D, Shaw, P. Senile breakdown in standards of personal and environmental cleanliness. BMJ 1966; 2: 1032–7.
2.Snowdon, J, Shah, A, Halliday, G. Severe domestic squalor: a review. Int Psychogeriatrics 2007; 19(1): 137–51.
3.Pertusa, A, Frost, R, Fullana, Met al.Refining the diagnostic boundaries of compulsive hoarding: a critical review. Clin Psychol Rev 2010; 30: 371–80.
4.Halliday, G, Banerjee, S, Philpot, M, Macdonald, A. Community study of people who live in squalor. Lancet 2000; 355: 882–6.
5.Shaw, T, Shah, A. Squalor syndrome and psychogeriatric admissions. Int Psychogeriatrics 1996; 8(4): 669674.
6.James, I, Mukaetova-Ladinska, E, Reichelt, K, Briel, R, Scully, A. Diagnosing Aspergers syndrome in the elderly: a series of case presentations. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2006; 21: 951–60.
7.Clark, A, Mankikar, G, Gray, I. Diogenes syndrome: a clinical study of gross neglect in old age. Lancet 1975; i: 366–8.
8.Wrigley, M, Cooney, C. Diogenes syndrome – an Irish series. Ir J Psychol Med 1992; 9: 3741.
9.Snowdon, J. Uncleanliness among persons seen by community health workers. Hosp Comm Psych 1987; 38: 491494.
10.Scallan, E, De La Harpe, D, Johnson, H, Hurley, M. Adult service refusers in the greater Dublin area. Ir Med J 2000; 9: 208211.
11.Orrell, MW, Sahakian, BJ, Bergmann, K. Self-neglect and frontal lobe dysfunction. Br J Psych 1989; 155: 101105.
12.Baron-Cohen, S. Commentary. Evidence Based Mental Health 2007; 10: 28
13.Wing, L. Aspergers syndrome: a clinical account. Psychol Med 1981; II: 115130.
14.Attwood, T. The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome. Jessica Kingsley publisher, 2006.
15.Philbin-Bowman, E. Asperger's syndrome and autism: the case for a connection. Br J Psych 1988; 152: 377382.
16.Bejerot, S. An autistic dimension: a proposed subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Autism 2007; 11(2): 101110.
17.Chen, PS, Chen, SJ, Yang, YK, Yeh, TL, Chen, CC, Lo, HY. Asperger's disorder: a case report of stealing and collecting behaviours of an adolescent patient. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003; 107(1): 7376.
18.Ruta, L, Mugno, D, D'Arrigo, VG, Vitello, B, Mazzone, L. Obsessive-compulsive traits in children and adolescents with Asperger's syndrome. Eur Child Adol Psychiatry 2010, 1: 1724.
19.Oppenheimer, C. Personality in later life: personality disorder and the effects of illness on personality. 4th Ed. Oxford textbook of Old Age Psychiatry 2007: 612614.
20.WHO. Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. Geneva: WHO, 1992.
21.Woodbury-Smith, MR, Robinson, J, Wheelwright, S, Baron-Cohen, S. Screening adults for Asperger syndrome using the AQ: A preliminary study of its diagnostic validity in clinical practice. J Autism Develop Dis 2005; 35(3): 331335.
22.Grace, J, Malloy, PF. Frontal Systems Behaviour Scale (FrSBe): Professional Manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, 2001.
23.Keane, B. Senile squalor syndrome. Letter to J Roy Soc Med 1999; 92: 438.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed