The results of our comparison of patient groups across four centers are consistent with the literature in suggesting certain characteristic features of patients diagnosed as having late-onset schizophrenia. Such features include a striking predominance of paranoid symptoms, especially bizarre delusions followed by auditory hallucinations. The course is generally chronic, with symptomatic improvement with neuroleptics, usually in relatively low doses. The comparison of younger versus late-onset schizophrenic patients from UCSD points out both similarities and differences between the two groups. Although a diagnosis of schizophrenia is ultimately based on overall clinical judgment and not on any pathognomonic clinical or laboratory tests, these results do suggest that it is possible to identify a set of patients using specific diagnostic criteria. This also implies that, with careful and detailed assessment, other conditions in the differential diagnosis (such as organic mental syndrome, mood disorder, delusional or paranoid disorder, and schizophrenia with onset prior to age 45) can generally be ruled out with a reasonable amount of clinical confidence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health