Behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia
Behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia are very common and usually develop as the disease progresses. These symptoms can be distressing, both for the person themselves and the carer. For example delusions (believing things that are not true, such as that the carer is an impostor) may cause the person to feel angry and behave in a hostile way. Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, such as hearing voices) might make the person feel afraid.
If a person with dementia develops behavioural and psychological symptoms it is important to remember that they are not ‘behaving badly’ and are not to blame. The symptoms may be a direct result of changes in the chemicals of their brain, or be due to a general health problem, such as discomfort caused by hunger, thirst or infection. These symptoms can also be related to the care a person is receiving, their environment or social interactions.
There are a number of different ways that behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia can be relieved. This page explains the different types of drugs that can be used. It is, however, important to note that most behavioural and psychological symptoms improve within four weeks without the need for medication. Alzheimer’s Society