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

Senile psychosis (simple deterioration type) is a mental disorder seen in elderly individuals. It is characterized by a decline in mental functioning due to aging that is not attributable to any other mental disorder or medical condition. This type of psychosis can cause a variety of psychosocial, cognitive, and behavioral deficits.

The condition was first described in the late 1950s as a “senile dementia of the simple type” by German psychiatrist Hans-Jürgen Möller. Möller noted that this type of dementia was distinct from other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which he described as a “senile dementia of the complex type”. In the 1970s, the term “senile psychosis” was adopted to describe the condition.

Senile psychosis is caused by the gradual deterioration of the brain that occurs as a result of aging. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive functioning, including impaired memory, disturbed judgment, and lack of insight. Additionally, individuals with this disorder may experience psychosocial disturbances, such as apathy, disorientation, and depression. Treatment often involves a combination of pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions.

Senile psychosis is a condition that is often under-recognized and under-diagnosed due to its subtle presentation and lack of awareness about the disorder. It is important for clinicians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition in order to provide appropriate treatment and support for elderly individuals.

Further Reading

Cullen, B., & O’Connor, D. W. (2015). The management of senile psychosis in the elderly. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 10, 1693-1703.

Löffler, S., & Möller, H.-J. (2007). Senile dementia: A historical overview. International Psychogeriatrics, 19(2), 201-216.

McFarlane, A. C., & O’Connor, D. W. (2016). Senile psychosis: A review and update. International Psychogeriatrics, 28(12), 1867-1876.

Vitaliano, P. P., & Young, H. M. (2006). Senile psychosis: A neglected disorder. Clinical Gerontologist, 29(3), 1-13.

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