Module 1: Introduction to Dementia
Module 2: Dementia Stages and Assessment
Module 3: Behavioral Symptoms and Non-Pharmacological Therapies
Module 4: Palliative Care and Medication Use in Dementia Care
Module 5: Dementia and Caregiving
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3.1 What Are Neuropsychiatric Symptoms?

Neuropsychiatric symptoms, commonly referred to as behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), are a diverse range of non-cognitive symptoms and behaviors that dementia patients exhibit.

These symptoms correlate with the cognitive and functional impairment caused by dementia, making them just as clinically meaningful as cognitive symptoms.

Dementia is diagnosed clinically by behavioral symptoms impacting patients and their families, including repetitive comments and queries, wandering, and sleep difficulties. If left untreated, they may lead to the following:

  • Faster disease progression
  • Earlier nursing home placement
  • Lower quality of life
  • Quicker loss of function
  • More stress on the caregivers
  • Higher healthcare consumption
  • Higher expenditures.

Behavioral symptoms in dementia patients are often not checked for in primary care, and even when clinically recorded, they frequently get inefficient, incorrect, and disorganized care.
However, physicians are frequently asked to address behaviors that put the patient or others in danger or are undesirable in the eyes of the patient’s family.
As part of routine comprehensive dementia care, it is crucial to include ongoing systematic screening for behavioral symptoms to promote early detection and prevention.
Some of the behavioral and psychological signs of dementia include:

  • Agitation
  • Despair
  • Apathy
  • Persistent questioning
  • Psychosis
  • Violence
  • Sleep issues
  • Wandering.

Nearly all dementia patients experience one or more of these symptoms throughout their condition.
These symptoms are among the most difficult, demanding, and expensive care components. They cause many negative patient outcomes, healthcare issues, and loss of income for family caregivers.

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