Senile Psychosis (Presbyophrenic Type): Definition, History, and Further Reading

Senile psychosis (presbyophrenic type) is a mental disorder characterized by a set of symptoms that commonly occur in elderly individuals. It is also known as senile dementia, presbyophrenia, or senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (SDAT). The disorder is characterized by a decline in cognitive functions such as memory, language, and executive functioning, as well as changes in personality and behavior.

Senile psychosis has been known since the early 19th century, when French psychiatrist Philippe Pinel described it as an “insanity of old age”. Pinel’s description was followed by others, including Alois Alzheimer’s description of the condition in 1907, which is now referred to as Alzheimer’s disease.

The diagnosis and treatment of senile psychosis has evolved over the years. In the early 20th century, the diagnosis was often based on an individual’s age and the presence of cognitive decline. Since then, more sophisticated diagnostic criteria have been developed, including the use of neuropsychological tests and imaging technologies. Treatment typically includes pharmacological interventions, psychosocial interventions, and supportive care.

Senile psychosis is an important condition that affects a significant proportion of the elderly population. It is important for health care professionals to be aware of the condition and the treatment options available.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Brodaty, H., & Burns, A. (2013). Dementia: A clinical guide for primary care. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Holsinger, T., & Folstein, M. (2005). Diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Kolb, B. E., & Whishaw, I. Q. (2015). Fundamentals of human neuropsychology (7th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Pinel, P. (1801). A treatise on insanity. London, England: Cadell and Davies.

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