J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1998 Nov;2(2):133-139.

Assessment of Psychotic Symptoms in the Elderly Patients

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


Late-life-onset psychosis is a common condition but heterogeneous and insufficiently explored syndrome. Geriatric psychiatrists are often required to assess psychotic symptoms of many different patients. This assessment can involve evaluating the patient's perception, thought, judgement and competence. To assess it objectively, one should consider several issues. First of all, geriatric psychiatrist must be familiar with the natural history and symptomatology of the common mental illness in the elderly. This knowledge is important because some mental disorders may present differently in old age. Second, the assessment of cognitive function is a crucial component of the geriatric mental status examination. Cognitive disorder affect language, perception, mood, thinking and personality. Finally the clinician should assess a patient's capacity to make decisions. Geriatric mental illness can interfere with judgment and reasoning. The following discussion is meant as a guide to assess psychotic symptoms of the geriatric patients.


Late-life-onset psychosis; Psychotic symptoms; Mental status examination
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