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Coping with Mood Swings from Dementia

Sometimes people with dementia have mood swings because they are frustrated by their loss of abilities. Sometimes they are just scared or tired.

Dementia may lower a person’s inhibitions or “filter” when it comes to expressing emotions, which may explain an increase in crying or angry outbursts if you have noticed them in your loved one.

There are a number of things that you can do to help cope with these mood swings. View the following table for tips on how to cope with common mood symptoms:

Symptom Interpretation How to Cope
Anger Your loved one may be feeling frightened, frustrated, or embarrassed. Break tasks down into smaller steps to avoid overwhelming or frustrating your loved one.
Depression Your loved one may be feeling the loss of aspects of their life before their disease, including loneliness. Talk to a doctor for treatment. Also continue to engage your loved one in socialization and activities.
Anxiety Anxiety may be due to compromised ability to process information and experiences, both new and old. Reassure your loved one by giving them simple tasks to focus on. If you are leaving, provide notes explaining when you will be back.

There is only so much you, as a caregiver, can do. If your loved one is having frequent mood swings, violent outbursts, or seems depressed, be sure to talk to your doctor. Medication and other treatment options can also be helpful.