Schizophrenia may increase dementia risk by 2.5 times

People with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are 2.5 times more likely than those without a psychotic disorder to eventually develop dementia, according to a review of evidence led by UCL researchers.

The new systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Psychological Medicine, found that psychotic disorders may have a stronger link with dementia than other mental health disorders like depression or anxiety.

Senior author Dr Jean Stafford (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL) said: “We found that having a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder is linked to a much higher risk of developing dementia later in life.

“Our findings add to evidence that protecting people’s mental health throughout life could help to prevent dementia.”

The study is the first high-quality systematic review looking at a range of psychotic disorders and their association with dementia risk. Schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders are severe illnesses that involve symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, and social withdrawal. Many people also experience impairments in cognitive and functional skills.

The researchers pulled together evidence from 11 studies from nine countries on four continents, which included close to 13 million participants in total.

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