Late Onset Schizophrenia Deadly Side Effects, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Late-onset schizophrenia can be dangerous without proper mental health treatment. Learn more about the side effects and symptoms of Late-Onset Schizophrenia and the treatment options available to those suffering with this mental health condition.

What Is Schizophrenia? Late Onset Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental condition characterized by difficulty distinguishing between one’s own delusions and reality.

Delusions, hallucinations, disordered speech, disordered or catatonic conduct, and negative symptoms including limited emotional expression and decreased motivation to engage in activities are all signs of schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia frequently struggle to continue functioning at the same level as before the onset of their symptoms in domains including job, interpersonal connections, and self-care.

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that alters a person’s perception of reality. When people have delusions and hallucinations, it leads to psychosis. Schizophrenia interferes with a person’s capacity to perform at work, school, or in social situations by affecting their thoughts, perceptions, and behavior.

Stigmatization of those with schizophrenia is a common occurrence in society and can be one of their largest issues. Many fallacies exist about schizophrenia, which makes it difficult for most people to comprehend. Contrary to common misconception, those who suffer from schizophrenia do not have “split personalities.” Schizophrenia patients rarely engage in aggressive behavior, although they do commit suicide at a higher incidence than the overall population.

About 1 in 100 persons have schizophrenia, and the symptoms typically appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is typically a chronic condition that, if untreated, can lead to severe impairment.

Late Onset Schizophrenia: Types of Schizophrenia

Up until the most recent version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-5, which was published in 2013, schizophrenia was divided into 5 subtypes, even when some people think there are only 3 types of schizophrenia:

  1. Paranoid Schizophrenia: People with paranoid schizophrenia experience at least one delusion or frequent auditory hallucinations.
  2. Disorganized Schizophrenia: The symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia include disorganized thought, disorganized speech, and flat affect.
  3. Catatonic Schizophrenia: In addition to other symptoms of schizophrenia, people with catatonic schizophrenia also experience catatonia, which may include unresponsiveness or restlessness.
  4. Residual Schizophrenia: In people with residual schizophrenia, symptoms of schizophrenia still exist but are weaker than in other subtypes.
  5. Undifferentiated Schizophrenia: If symptoms from more than one of the other subtypes of schizophrenia are present, but there aren’t enough to classify the individual in another subtype, they meet the criteria for undifferentiated schizophrenia.

These different levels of schizophrenia were dropped from the DSM-5 in favor of utilizing a spectrum to categorize symptom severity due to the lack of clinical support for their use in treating patients and the instability among them as a result of schizophrenia’s unpredictable course.

Schizophrenia late onset: Schizophrenia was divided into 5 subtypes, even though some people think there are only 3 types of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia late onset: Schizophrenia was divided into 5 subtypes, even though some people think there are only 3 types of schizophrenia.

Many mental health professionals still find the categories helpful in understanding the condition and choosing the most appropriate treatment for each patient, even though they are no longer used to diagnose schizophrenia. Even though a person presently displays symptoms connected to one of the categories, it’s crucial to comprehend that these symptoms can alter swiftly and that there’s no such thing as low-level schizophrenia.

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Schizophrenia Fact Sheet

Schizophrenia Overview

A condition that impairs a person’s capacity for clear thought, feeling, and behavior.
Although the precise origin of schizophrenia is unknown, it is thought that a mix of genetics, environment and altered brain chemistry and structure may be at play.

Schizophrenia is characterized by disorganized speech or behavior, depressed participation in daily tasks, and ideas or experiences that appear disconnected from reality. Memory loss and attention problems could also be present.

Treatment is typically ongoing and frequently consists of a mix of prescription drugs, psychotherapy, and well-coordinated specialty care services.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia is characterized by disorganized speech or behavior, depressed participation in daily tasks, and ideas or experiences that appear disconnected from reality. Memory loss and attention problems could also be present.

Schizophrenia Treatments

Treatment is typically ongoing and frequently consists of a mix of prescription drugs, psychotherapy, and well-coordinated specialty care services.

Schizophrenia Statistics

A mental disorder called schizophrenia is characterized by disturbances in thought, perception, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions. Although each person’s experience with schizophrenia is unique, the condition is typically chronic and can be both severe and incapacitating.


With the risk being highest in the early stages of the illness, an estimated 4.9% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide, a rate that is significantly higher than that of the general population.

Source: National Insitute Of Mental Health

24 Million

Around 24 million people, or 1 in 300 persons (0.32%), globally suffer from schizophrenia. Adults at this rate make up 1 in 222 individuals (0.45%). It does not occur as frequently as many other mental illnesses.

Source: World Health Organization


The great majority of people with schizophrenia do not currently have access to mental health services. An estimated 50% of patients in psychiatric hospitals have a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Source: World Health Organization

Schizophrenia is a condition of the mind. A person's mental processes, reality perception, emotions, and social interactions could all be affected.
Schizophrenia is a condition of the mind. A person’s mental processes, reality perception, emotions, and social interactions could all be affected.

What Is the Typical Age of Onset for Schizophrenia? Late-Onset Schizophrenia

Symptoms of late-onset schizophrenia: Although both men and women are equally likely to develop this brain condition, men are somewhat more likely to do so. Men typically get their first diagnosis in their late teens or early twenties. Women typically receive a diagnosis between the ages of 20 and 30. Schizophrenia rarely strikes anyone younger than 12 or older than 40.

The condition is most likely brought on by an interaction between elements in your environment and genes. Although there is still much to learn about it, various factors probably contribute. According to one idea about causes, some may have occurred while you were still in your mother’s womb, such as virus exposure or starvation. Cannabis use can make people more susceptible to acquiring psychotic diseases like schizophrenia.

There are numerous ideas as to why it typically manifests in late adolescence, but no one is certain.

During puberty, your brain goes through a lot of development. People who are susceptible to the disease may become ill as a result of these adjustments.

Some researchers think it has to do with how the frontal cortex develops in the brain. Others believe it has to do with the brain maturing removing too many connections between nerve cells.

Puberty is a significant outcome of hormones as well. According to one idea, women experience puberty earlier than men do, and the hormone estrogen may somehow shield them from developing schizophrenia. learn to spot the symptoms of teen schizophrenia.

Late Onset Schizophrenia in Women

Late onset schizophrenia female: The term “late-onset schizophrenia” refers to psychosis that first manifests after the age of 45. It has previously been linked to a higher percentage of women, high levels of marital and occupational functioning, as well as more severe paranoid delusions and visual, tactile, and olfactory hallucinations.

How Common is Late-Onset Schizophrenia?

20% of those who have schizophrenia experience symptoms beyond age 40, typically between the ages of 40 and 60. This is very late onset schizophrenia.

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Late-Onset Schizophrenia Symptoms – Late Onset Schizophrenia Prognosis

Late onset schizophrenia symptoms: For several reasons, schizophrenia can be challenging to diagnose. One is that those who have the disorder frequently aren’t aware they are ill and are hence reluctant to seek medical attention.

Another problem is that a lot of the prodrome, or changes that precede schizophrenia, might resemble other typical life changes. For instance, a teenager who is developing the condition might break up with their current group of friends and start dating someone new. Additionally, they can have problems falling asleep or start returning home with poor grades.

Low dosages of antipsychotic medication may help postpone the onset of the disease, according to some studies, if a doctor has a strong suspicion that a patient is developing it at this early stage. To determine whether these medications are effective for children who are at risk for the disease, more research must be done. Early usage of CBT therapy, family therapy, and social skills training seems to have clearer advantages for them, at least in the near term. Find out more about the schizophrenia prodrome.

Schizophrenia symptoms

Schizophrenia symptoms generally fall under three categories:

  • Positive symptoms: this includes psychosis (including hallucinations and delusions), disordered thinking and speech, altered sensations
  • Negative symptoms: these symptoms include reduced motivation, difficulty planning, suppressed emotions, social withdrawal
  • Cognitive symptoms: this can include trouble with attention or concentration, memory loss, difficulty absorbing information, trouble making decisions

Very late onset schizophrenia like psychosis symptoms: Psychotic symptoms or positive symptoms can affect how a person thinks, acts, and experiences reality. Very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations, which may include seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling things that are not there
  • Delusions, where a person has strong beliefs that are not true
  • Ways of thinking that are unusual or not logical
  • Abnormal body movements

Negative symptoms can impact a person’s daily activities and social life. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulties in planning and carrying out activities
  • Trouble feeling pleasure
  • Avoiding social interactions and activities
  • Having low energy
  • Being socially awkward

Cognitive symptoms can impact a person’s attention, memory, and concentration. Symptoms include difficulty:

  • Processing information
  • Making decisions
  • With focusing and attention
  • Using information directly after learning it

What Causes Late Onset Schizophrenia?

Nobody is certain why some people develop schizophrenia later than others or what the late onset schizophrenia causes at this time. Late-onset schizophrenia may be caused by pre-existing disorders, such as cognitive, visual, or auditory difficulties, or it may be influenced by genetics.

Causes of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Genetics: Although genetics alone does not cause schizophrenia, having a parent, sibling, or another close relative who has the disease increases the likelihood of having it by nearly six times.
  • Environmental: Interactions with particular surroundings may enhance the incidence of schizophrenia in those with genetic risk factors. Stress can lead to schizophrenia, even though it is not the cause. Additionally, a person’s risk is increased if they have poor nutrition or are exposed to a virus before to birth.
  • Brain chemistry: According to research, the sizes of particular brain regions, the connections between them, and the interactions of neurotransmitters like dopamine in the brains of persons with schizophrenia are all different from those of people without the disorder.
  • Drug use: Cannabis and other mind-altering substances can raise the risk of schizophrenia in teenagers and young adults.

It is impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of schizophrenia in any one person because multiple factors may play a role in its onset.

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Late Onset of Schizophrenia

Later in life, schizophrenia can manifest. After the age of 45, a person is diagnosed with late-onset schizophrenia. Delusions and hallucinations are among the symptoms that are more prevalent in those who have them. They are less likely to experience negative symptoms, disordered thoughts, learning disabilities, or difficulty comprehending information.

Similar to early-onset schizophrenia, doctors believe genetics may be at fault. They also believe that late-onset may be a subtype that may not manifest until the appropriate trigger does. It may be more common in people with cognitive, visual, or auditory impairments as well as those who are wary, alone, or reclusive.

Later in life, schizophrenia can manifest. After the age of 45, a person is diagnosed with late-onset schizophrenia.
Later in life, schizophrenia can manifest. After the age of 45, a person is diagnosed with late-onset schizophrenia.

Early-Onset Schizophrenia

It’s rare for someone younger than 13 to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it can happen. In young children, early-onset schizophrenia often causes:

  • Talking delays
  • Late or unusual crawling
  • Late walking
  • Unusual movements like arm flapping or rocking

Parents of teens might notice:

  • Not spending as much time with friends and family
  • Drop in school performance
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bad mood
  • Depression
  • No motivation
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Odd behavior

Teens are less likely to have delusions but more likely to have visual hallucinations. 

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Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia typically first manifests in early adulthood and has no known treatment. Treatment is therefore required to guarantee that individuals can manage the illness. Therapy and antipsychotic medicines are examples of these treatments.

Antipsychotic Drugs

Antipsychotic drugs lessen the severity and duration of schizophrenia symptoms and are often taken as a daily pill or liquid. They could, however, cause unwanted side effects like weight gain and tiredness. Even though antipsychotic drugs have side effects, once someone starts taking them, they shouldn’t stop because doing so could make their symptoms worse.


For patients with schizophrenia, cognitive-behavioral therapy is one available kind of treatment.

Another choice is assertive community treatment. People with schizophrenia who are at high risk of homelessness and institutionalization can benefit from assertive community treatment. It also involves regular interactions with patients.

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The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions.  However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time.

Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse. Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success. 

A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment.

At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

Search Late Onset Schizophrenia Resources

[1] Schizophrenia – World Health Organization

[2] Causes – Schizophrenia

[3] The Role of Genetics in the Etiology of Schizophrenia – National Center for Biotechnology InformationU.S. National Library of Medicine

[4] SAMHSA -

[5] NIMH –

[6] WHO –

[7] NCBI –

[8] SAMHSA -

Canuso, C.M. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, published online 2007.

Larson, K., Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, published online August 2010.