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New perspectives on schizophrenia in later life: implications for treatment, policy, and research

Cohen, Carl I; Meesters, Paul D; Zhao, Jingna
Worldwide, in the past few decades, the demographics of older people (ie, people 55 years and over) with schizophrenia have changed completely with respect to absolute numbers of people affected, the proportion of all people with the disorder, life expectancy, and residential status. The ageing schizophrenia population has created vast health-care needs and their medical comorbidity contributes to higher mortality than in the general population. Proposals to classify schizophrenia into early-onset, late-onset, and very-late-onset subtypes now should be tempered by the recognition that comorbid medical and neurological disorders can contribute to psychotic symptoms in later life. The concept of outcome has become more nuanced with an appreciation that various outcomes can occur, largely independent of each other, that need different treatment approaches. Data show that schizophrenia in later life is not a stable end-state but one of fluctuation in symptoms and level of functioning, and show that pathways to improvement and recovery exist. Several novel non-pharmacological treatment strategies have been devised that can augment the clinical options used to address the specific needs of older adults with schizophrenia.
PMID: 26360087
ISSN: 2215-0374
CID: 5156032