<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 27, Issue 1, March 2019

Rom J Leg Med27(1)69-72(2019)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Late-onset schizophrenia: diagnosis difficulties and legal implications

M. Bonea, C. A. Crişan, D. Ureche, D. B. Iliescu, L. P. Dumbravă

Abstract: Schizophrenia is one of the most severe psychiatric disorders, characterized by losing touch with reality and discernment during psychotic episodes. Contrary to public opinion, violence is not a typical feature of schizophrenia. Aggressive behavior is correlated with younger age, male sex, absence of treatment, comorbid substance abuse and marked impulsivity. We present the case of a 54 years old man, formerly diagnosed with mixt personality disorder and alcohol dependence, which broke into his neighbor’s apartment, attacked him and his family, and then assaulted the police officers when they tried to arrest him. For the previous year, the patient behaved oddly, isolated himself because he thought he was being watched by “occult forces”, which hired his neighbor to annihilate him. The diagnostic difficulties were the patient dissimulative attitude during the previous hospital admissions, his miscellaneous symptoms and the unusually advanced age of debut. The final diagnosis was late-onset schizophrenia; the medico-legal expertise concluded that the patient did not have discernment and the law court ruled mandatory hospitalization according to the Article 110, Penal Code.
Keywords: Late-onset schizophrenia, Mandatory hospitalization.

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