Paraphrenia

Paraphrenia is a form of atypical psychosis with an onset that is much later in life than other psychotic disorders.

What is Paraphrenia?
Paraphrenia is not listed in the DSM as a diagnosis, but is still regarded by some practitioners as a separate diagnosis from related illnesses such as schizoaffective disorder and delusional disorder. For this reason, diagnosis with paraphrenia is fairly uncommon and people with symptoms of paraphrenia are more likely to be diagnosed with other disorders.

The disorder is similar to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. People with the disorder may experience delusions, strange or unusual thoughts or eccentric behavior. However, unlike schizophrenia, their personality is not usually fundamentally disturbed and they typically have normal affect. Paraphrenia tends to occur later in life – usually in the 40s or later – while schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders typically have their onset much earlier, in the teens and 20s. Paraphrenia is distinct from schizophrenia that persists or worsens late in life.

What Causes Paraphrenia?
Paraphrenia, like other psychotic disorders, likely has genetic origins. However, brain injuries caused by stroke, traumatic brain injuries, or drug and alcohol use can also induce psychotic symptoms. Some practitioners believe that paraphrenia is related to dementia.

How is Paraphrenia Treated?
Paraphrenia generally has a much better prognosis than other psychotic disorders. Antispsychotic medication can be helpful, and many people with paraphrenia also benefit from therapy. Paraphrenia sometimes co-occurs with depression and anxiety, and medication to treat these conditions can help improve overall functioning. Family interventions, including family education and counseling, can also be helpful, particularly when the onset is very late and the person with paraphrenia is cared for by family or friends.

References:

  1. Paraphrenia. (n.d.). General Practice Notebook. Retrieved from http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/simplepage.cfm?ID=7012386
  2. Stevens, J. (1996). Paraphrenia revisited. Schizophrenia Research, 18(2-3), 122-123. doi: 10.1016/0920-9964(96)85415-6

Last Updated: 08-17-2015

  • 3 comments
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  • CAROL

    CAROL

    April 25th, 2017 at 11:56 PM

    I THINK MY IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER SUFFERS FROM THIS. SHE IS 75 YEARS OLD AND HAS AUDITORY HALLUCINATIONS /PSYCHOSIS. SHE HEARS HOSTILE VOICES ME AND MY SISTER. SHE IS SEEING A DOCTOR BUT SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE VERY PRIVATE AND I ONLY HEAR WHAT IS HAPPENING FROM MY NIECE. PLEASE HELP ME TO HELP MY TWIN WHO I LOVE SO MUCH.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    April 26th, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for commenting. If you or your sister would like to speak with a mental health professional, please return to our homepage, https://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    We wish you the best of luck in your search.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • di patricia

    di patricia

    August 20th, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    I think my elderly mother in law suffers this or something similar – she is very narcissistic and her perceptions on reality and how even a conversation goes is no where near the truth,she turns everything around to validate her rationale on why all of us – her immediate family are horrible – to convince her own thoughts and give excuses and validate her behaviour and responses, You can have a conversation with her and explain how she hurt you (very spiteful verbal attacks) (these can even be written down) and then she will say shes never heard this before in her life, I think her default to validate her “character” my husband is 51 and very passive non aggressive so this is killing him, he will have a heart attack, I am sure she suffers from an actual condition and am sure some sort of family therapy or medication could change this – she thinks we are against her, turns conversations inside out hurls abuse all in private – the rest of the world see non of this – gosh any insights on any conditions would be so amazing – This is tearing us apart

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