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N. Borja-Santos, B. Trancas, B.Ferreira, J. Parente, A. Gamito, S. Almeida, C. Vieira, A. Luengo, S. Xavier, C. Klut, J. Graça, J. Ramos, M. Martins, J. Ribeiro, A. Neto, M. Palma, A. Luis, G. Cardoso

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(2):205-210

Objectives: To demonstrate that systematic paraphrenia as defined by Kraepelin (the most consistent prototypic paraphrenia subtype) can be recognized and diagnosed. Subjects and methods: All patients admitted to a Portuguese psychiatric inpatient unit between September 2006 and October 2011, meeting the criteria for systematic paraphrenia based on Kraepelin’s definition, Munro’s operational criteria and the authors’ criteria, were evaluated by two senior psychiatrists. Results: Out of 27 evaluated patients, 16 (10 women and 6 men) were confirmed as having systematic paraphrenia, accounting for 0.83% of the total number of inpatients (1921). The mean age of onset was 34.3 years (SD = 8.9) and the mean duration of illness at observation was 19.5 years (SD = 12.3). Most (n = 13) had no family psychiatric history, were married (n = 11) before the onset of the disorder and none had previous sensorial deficit. Six were born outside of Portugal. Their academic achievements were only slightly inferior to the general population. Conclusions: Systematic paraphrenia can be recognized and diagnosed. Contrary to Kraepelin, the disorder seems to be more frequent in women. It does not seem to be associated with old age or heredity. This syndrome is internally consistent and its only similarity with schizophrenia is the positive symptoms’ dimension. It should also be distinguished from late paraphrenia.

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