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Inhibition, Impulse Control & Dementia

This video discusses emotional problems that may occur for people with dementia (time: 2 minutes).

Individuals with any number of dementias, such as Frontotemporal dementia, Vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Lewy body dementia, suffer from emotional problems related to the progression of the disease. For instance, when comparing the brain of a perfectly healthy individual to the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient, the brain of the individual with dementia is lacking emotion and impulse control. This means the individual lacks the ability to control their state of mind, be it calm, angry, happy, excited, sad, etc., and the intensity of their response. This inability to control emotions, temper, and mood is a normal part of the disease process and is easier to accept if it is understood that the individual with dementia has zero control over it.

Due to the inability to control emotions, if an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is mad, they will become extremely mad. If they are happy, they will become wildly happy, and if they are upset, they will become intensely upset. As an example of the extreme intensity of emotions that are presented, a dementia patient may have an angry outburst, yelling at their caregiver, simply because they are feeling frustrated over a simple task and aren’t able to control their impulses. Their intention is certainly not to irritate or upset their caregiver or a loved one; they simply have no control over it. However, if you, as the caregiver or loved one, aggravate the individual with Alzheimer’s, you are going to see a response, and an exaggerated one, very, very quickly.

As mentioned previously, there is nothing the dementia patient can do to change this lack of control and their strong emotional responses. As the video states, “People with dementia are doing the best they can.” However, caregivers and loved ones do have the ability to control their own behavior and doing so can make interactions with an Alzheimer’s patient go more smoothly.

This video discusses emotional problems that may occur for people with dementia (time: 2 minutes).

Learn about the emotional problems which result from Alzheimer's such as impulse control, frustration and decreased inhibition.