The epidemiology and clinical features of personality disorders in later life; a study of secondary care data.


OBJECTIVES: Personality disorders (PDs) are often conceptualised as impacting individuals throughout their life. However, there has been limited study of the disorders in those over the age of 65. We have used the psychiatric secondary care medical records of 21,971 individuals over the age of 65 from Cambridgeshire, UK, who received care between 2014 and 2021 to characterise older patients with a PD diagnosis. METHODS: The data from all patients >65 with a diagnosis of personality disorder (PD) was extracted (n = 217) along with two comparison groups (n = 2170); patients 65 with a psychiatric diagnosis other than PD or dementia. RESULTS: Compared to younger patients with PD, older patients were more likely to be male, married, suffering from a mixed PD and live in less deprived areas. Compared to patients >65 with diagnoses other than PD, older patients were more likely to be female, single or divorced and had a higher level of social deprivation. Our most striking finding was that older patients with PDs were more likely to experience polypharmacy. A mean of 18.48 different drugs had been prescribed over their lifetime, compared to 9.51 for patients >65 with other mental health diagnoses. CONCLUSION: Here we present the largest ever description of this group of patients and provide insights that could inform clinical practice and future research.