Paranoid Symptoms Among Older Adults

Muzumel A. Chaudhary, MD; Kiran Rabheru, MD, CCFP, FRCP, ABPN


Geriatrics and Aging. 2008;11(3):143-149. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

New-onset paranoid symptoms are common among older individuals. They can signify an acute mental status change owing to medical illness, correspond to behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, or equate to an underlying affective or primary psychotic mental disorder. The implications of paranoid symptoms are considerable and affect patients, families, and caregivers alike. Accurate identification, diagnosis, and treatment of late-life paranoid symptoms present a unique clinical challenge as issues of morbidity and mortality are inherent both to the illness state and available treatment approaches.

Paranoid symptoms among older adults are of considerable importance as they are linked not only to personal distress but also to caregiver burden. Ideas of persecution and the experience of living in an unfriendly social environment lead to heightened stress, caution, anxiety, and agitation among older persons. The resultant resistive and disruptive behaviours frequently alienate family and friends and leave caregivers frightened, distressed, and exhausted by the increased demands of caring for a paranoid older person.[1]


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