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Diogenes syndrome

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2534 (Published 04 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2534
  1. Brian Murray, consultant, Oxford and Bucks Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury
  1. brian.murray{at}obmh.nhs.uk

    Diogenes syndrome, otherwise known as senile self neglect syndrome, is used to describe an older adult living in squalor but with no sign of mental or cognitive impairment sufficient to explain the self neglect. Some commentators have written that the squalor and hoarding are just signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, or other mental disorder, but most workers in older adult psychiatry will have seen plenty of cases with no explanatory psychiatric disorder.

    Alternatively, Diogenes syndrome may simply be a description of a social situation. This would fit with my impression that referrals for Diogenes syndrome have tailed off since reality television …

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