John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Old patients suffering from long-standing schizophrenia: clinical aspects Volume 9, issue 3, Septembre 2011

Service de psychiatrie de l’adulte A et psychologie médicale, Pôle de psychiatrie, CHU de Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont Université, Université d’Auvergne Clermont 1, UFR médecine, EA 3845, Clermont-Ferrand, Centre mémoire ressources recherche, CHU de Clermont-Ferrand, Clermont-Ferrand

Although some patients suffering from schizophrenia experience an age-related amelioration, a great number of people who are entering old age suffer from long-standing schizophrenia. These patients show specific psychiatric and somatic problems that must be taken into account. Firstly, some display high levels of all schizophrenic symptoms, while others experience changes in the symptom profile with aging, i.e. a reduction in positive symptoms and an increase in negative ones. Secondly, the occurrence of significant depressive symptoms among elderly patients with schizophrenia is well recognized. Thirdly, in recent years, studies have begun to shed more light on the trajectories of cognitive impairment of these patients in old age. Lastly, aged persons with schizophrenia often have side effects due to long-term antipsychotic medications and medical co-morbidity, more untreated somatic disorders (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases) and higher mortality rates. These may be the result of both lifestyle factors and lack of adequate medical care. Levels of adaptive functioning and quality of life are closely associated with clinical and social factors. Thus, we must consider all these different aspects in order to effectively manage the therapeutic and service needs of these patients.