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June 1956

Environmental Change and Age of Onset of Psychosis in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

London, Ont., Canada

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;75(6):619-623. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330240057005

A. INTRODUCTION  The traditional classification of mental disease among elderly people separates senile psychosis and psychosis with cerebral arteriosclerosis from the psychogenic group of illnesses. This separation recognizes the roles of neuronal degeneration and cerebral vascular damage in the etiology of these disorders. The trend of modern opinion, however, is toward the belief that even among the apparently organic group of psychoses, the degree of mental disability is not entirely dependent upon the degree of organic brain damage but is influenced by social and psychological factors as well.* It is suspected, for example, that environmental changes of an uprooting or isolating nature may have the undesirable effect of precipitating or accelerating the onset of psychotic behavior in the elderly person.If this is so, it should be possible to demonstrate, among elderly mental patients experiencing an environmental change before the onset of their psychosis, a correlation between age at change

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