Some names appear to stick to syndromes or diseases like a proverbial glue, regardless of their total inappropriateness. Gross self-neglect in old age characterised by domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, tendency to hoard rubbish (syllogomania) and a lack of shame was originally reported by Macmillan & Shaw in 1966 and subsequently ‘christened’ by Clark et al as Diogenes∗ syndrome in 1975. Post (1982) preferred the term ‘senile recluse’ and argued that this is not a syndrome but merely an end stage of personality disorder. It was usually extremely difficult to help these patients, as one's care and goodwill often met with hostility and blunt refusal to cooperate (Cybulska & Rucinski, 1986). More recent studies, however, have shown a strong association of this condition with frontal lobe dysfunction (Orrell & Sahakian, 1991), thus giving a psychiatrist of old age a somewhat firmer basis for action.
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