SENILE PSYCHOSIS (Senile Brain Disease, Senile Dementia)

Senile Psychosis (Senile Brain Disease, Senile Dementia): Definition, History and References

Senile psychosis, also known as senile brain disease or senile dementia, is a form of dementia that typically occurs in elderly patients and is characterized by progressive cognitive decline, memory loss, and other neurological symptoms. It is one of the most common forms of dementia, affecting up to 20% of the elderly population, and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

Senile psychosis has been recognized since the 19th century, when it was first described by German neurologist Alois Alzheimer. Alzheimer noted that it was associated with significant cognitive decline, memory problems, disorientation, and behavioral disturbances. Although the exact cause of the disorder is still unknown, it is thought to be related to the aging process and the accumulation of age-related changes in the brain, such as the deposition of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

In recent years, the diagnosis of senile psychosis has become more refined and is now classified according to the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), which is a measure of cognitive decline. The GDS consists of seven stages, ranging from no dementia (stage 0) to severe dementia (stage 7). The diagnosis of senile psychosis is usually made when the patient is in the late stages (stages 5-7) of the GDS.

Treatment of senile psychosis is largely supportive and includes pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. Medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are commonly used to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, environmental modifications, and social support, can also be beneficial in improving quality of life.

Although there is no cure for senile psychosis, there is hope for improvement in symptoms and quality of life with the right combination of treatments. Research into the causes and treatments of this disorder is ongoing, and new therapeutic approaches are being explored.


Alzheimer, A. (1907). Uber eine eigenartige Erkrankung der Hirnrinde [On a peculiar disease of the cerebral cortex]. Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie und Psychisch-Gerichtliche Medizin, 64, 146-148.

Gauthier, S., Gauthier-Loiselle, M., Cummings, J.L., & Raina, P. (2008). Management of senile psychosis. Drugs & Aging, 25(9), 765-779.

Hersch, E.S., & Gauthier, S. (2019). Diagnostic criteria for senile psychosis. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 15, 1281-1291.

Jellinger, K.A. (2005). Senile brain disease: Pathology, pathogenesis, diagnosis. Clinical Neuropathology, 24(1), 1-15.

Sano, M., Bell, K.L., Galasko, D., & Thomas, R.G. (2019). Nonpharmacologic approaches to managing senile psychosis. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 6(2), 155-166.

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