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Tuesday, December 09, 2008 Kathy, Community Member, asks

Q: Does schizophrenia get worse as you age?

I am 56 years old and it seems my illness has gotten worse.  I suffer from paranoid delusions sometimes and have no social life. I also have many fears re people and places.

I stay isolated in my house and don't do much other than watch TV and web surf.

Do other people experience this also?

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Answers (1)
John McManamy, Health Guide
12/10/08 1:32am

Hi, Kathy. The doctor who first identified schizophrenia as an illness, Emil Kraepelin, back in the early 20th century, named it "dementia praecox" to indicate that he felt it was a deteriorating condition that got worse over time. His followers changed the name to schizophrenia to indicate that necessarily wasn't the case.

 

Dr Robert Liberman of UCLA points out that people can recover from schizophrenia, and that recovery rates can be even higher if patients make use of psychiatric rehabilitation and manage their lives well.

 

But it also works the other way. Even healthy people can become mentally unglued by remaining isolated and not socializing. But in light of your fears and vulnerabilities, you probably need expert help and peer support in getting out of the house and mixing with people again. The brain has a way of laying down new connections, but it often needs the stimulus of social contact for this to happen.

 

Please don't give up on yourself. You are worth it.

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By Kathy, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 12/09/08