What is Paraphrenia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Paraphrenia is a type of psychotic disorder. Today, we’ll discuss what is paraphrenia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Paraphrenia? 

Paraphrenia is a mental illness comprised of paranoid delusions with or without delusions, and the condition doesn’t jeopardize a person’s intellect and personality. Paraphrenic condition is different from schizophrenia in terms of slower progression rate, limited premorbid maladjustment, and lower hereditary presence.

Generally, its symptoms appear later in life and nearly at the age of 60. The commonness of the condition among elderly people ranges from 0.1% to 4%. However, the DSM-5 (diagnostic of statistical manual) has not officially included the paraphrenic condition. Doctors usually diagnose the condition with delusional disorder, atypical psychosis; or schizoaffective disorder, a persistent state among adults. Recently, psychologists have categorized paraphrenic condition as a late-onset-schizophrenia.

The paraphrenic condition could equally impact both males and females, but it is more common among females because of their different life experiences. The paraphrenic female to male is around 3:1 and 45:2. Usually, it impacts elderly people above 60 years old, but it could also influence people in their 40s and 50s.

Paraphrenia vs. Schizophrenia

Both conditions have got symptoms of delusions and hallucinations, but they are different from each other. For instance, the schizophrenic person shows changes in their deteriorating personality; whereas the paraphrenic would remain responsive and effective and maintain their preserved personality.

Symptoms of Paraphrenia 

Some of the main symptoms of paraphrenia are as follows;


Some of their common delusions are;

  • Grandiose
  • Hypochondriacal
  • Erotic
  • Subject of persecution


Their hallucination has got association with paraphrenia, and they’re auditory. Approximately 75% of paraphrenic patients experience following hallucinations;

  • Olfactory
  • Tactile
  • Visual

The integration of hallucinations and paranoia results in the form of hearing accusatory and threatening voices from the houses of their neighbors. The patients have got feelings of undeserved and disturbing.

  • It doesn’t jeopardize and deteriorate the habits, personality, and intellect of the person, and they remain self-sufficient and clean

Causes of Paraphrenia 

Some of the main causes of paraphrenia are as follows;

Predisposing Factors

Most paraphrenic patients have got following predisposing factors;

  • Maladaptive personality traits
  • Don’t have children
  • Unmarried
  • Not having the permanent home
  • Limited social contact
  • Socially isolated
  • Visual loss
  • Losing auditory senses

It’s important to mention here that such predisposing factors do not directly cause the paraphrenic condition, but they do make people develop this condition later in their lives.


Paraphrenic patients have got physical changes in their brain structure due to the following;

  • Neurodegenerative process
  • Ventricular enlargement
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic experiences

Studies have shown that the relationship between the developing delusion and organic brain lesions suggests; that the subcortical dysfunction would develop delusions when structured with an intact cortex.

Physical Factors

Hallucinations and paranoia among elderly people have got associated with visual and auditory impairment. Any of the impairment is present among paraphrenic patients; losing auditory senses have got relevance with any of the following;

  • Profound auditory loss
  • Long duration
  • Onset an early age

Diagnosis of Paraphrenia 

 Since the paraphrenic condition is different from the schizophrenic condition, we can’t use the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia for the diagnosis of paraphrenia. Ravindran has created a list of criteria for the diagnosis of paraphrenia, and many researchers have agreed to it.

It comprises exhibiting the symptoms of delusions for the past six months or more based on the following;

  • Having semi-systemized delusions along with auditory hallucinations
  • Remaining appropriate and well-preserved with the capability to develop rapport with others
  • Not unpleasant disorganized behavior other than during the limited episode
  • Show no inappropriate effects
  • Having no incoherence
  • No visual hallucination
  • And no intellectual deterioration
  • Disturbing behavior relevant to hallucination and delusion

Treatment of Paraphrenia 

The treatment plan for paraphrenia comprises both therapy and medication, and they’re as follows;


Usually, doctors prescribe antipsychotic medicines for the treatment of the paraphrenic condition. Some of the other medicines are as follows;

  • Disipal (orphenadrine) an anticholinergic
  • Stelazine (trifluoperazine)

Behavioral Therapy

Researchers have found behavioral therapy very effective to treat the symptoms of the paraphrenic condition along with preoccupying delusions. Psychotherapy is not the primary treatment approach for this method.


It’s important to mention here that the recovery rate from psychosis is rare. Paraphrenic patients are no exceptions and they maintain the status of being patient for the rest of their life. However, the cognitive functions of the patients deteriorate slowly with the passage of time, and it could lead to dementia in some cases.

Conclusion: What is Paraphrenia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is paraphrenia; its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment; we have realized that a paraphrenic condition could badly impact your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with your doctor and work on a treatment plan.