Introduction to Emotional & Behavioral Problems from Dementia

Emotional and behavioral problems result primarily from changes in the brain which affect a person’s ability to constructively process events and situations, as well as a decreased ability to communicate.

Secondary causes include the fact that the person’s lifestyle, day to day routine, and social life have been interrupted and changed permanently. This can cause depression and other problems.

A number of emotional problems are commonly experienced by people with dementia and their caregivers, including (but not limited to):

  • anger
  • frustration
  • indifference
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • clinging

A number of behavioral problems are commonly seen in people with dementia, such as:

  • wandering
  • incontinence
  • repetition
  • aggressive behavior
  • sleep disturbances
  • sundowning
  • horading
  • refusing help

Remember that the two are related and that addressing one issue may help a multitude of other issues. For example, treating anxiety may aid sleep disturbances.

Read on for how to respond to emotional and behavioral problems (but first, take a brief quiz to see what you’ve learned already!).