Behavioral Manifestations of Alzheimer's Dementia

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Alzheimer's Dementia has a combination of cognitive and behavioral manifestations. Cognitive impairment is the core problem which includes memory deficits and at least one of the following: aphasia or language problem, agnosia or problems with recognition, apraxia or motor activity problem, and impairment in executive functioning (e.g. planning, abstract reasoning, and organizing).

As the disease advances, the cognitive decline becomes associated with behavioral manifestations. What are these behavioral manifestations of dementia?

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Behavioral syndromes in Alzheimer's can be grouped into two categories: psychological and behavioral. Major psychological syndromes consist of depression, anxiety, delusions, and hallucinations.

Depression in dementia is very common. Up to about 87% of patients develop some form of depression. It is characterized by tearfulness or crying episodes, feelings of sadness, and neurovegetative signs and symptoms such as inability to sleep, lack of appetite, poor energy, and thoughts of death. Irritability is also common. Depression can occur even in the early or mild phase of the illness.

About 50% of demented patients show delusions or false fixed beliefs. Such delusions include beliefs that a relative is stealing, that a spouse is just an impostor or is having an affair with a neighbor, or that friends and relatives are conspiring to cause trouble.

Moreover, many patients with dementia may experience hallucinations. Most of these hallucinations are visual

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