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Is an elderly person likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Elderly people are unlikely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia symptoms usually begin in the teenage and young adult years for most people. It is very rare for signs of schizophrenia to appear after people turn 40.

However, two illnesses are common in elderly people that may cause symptoms similar to those found with schizophrenia. About 50% of people with Alzheimer's disease develop psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thinking. In addition, dementia may cause some elderly people to hallucinate or have other psychotic symptoms. For this reason, treatment for dementia sometimes includes antipsychotic medications, but only when psychotic symptoms are present.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.