Background: Behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) are the clinically most significant symptoms of the illness. They are non-cognitive and include apathy, agitation, aggression, anxiety, hallucinations and delusions. The syndrome is not well defined, and the symptomatology is heterogenous.
Materials and methods: This discussion of the concept of BPSD, which suggest assessment and treatment strategies, is based on a review of the literature as well as on clinical experience and knowledge of clinical practice in the field in Norway.
Results and interpretation: BPSDs are widespread and often critical with regard to life quality for the patient as well as caregiver stress. The frequency of BPSD increases as the dementing disorder progresses. There are several etiological factors that require thorough assessment of biological, psychological, and environmental issues. The treatment should be aimed at well-defined symptoms. Pharmacological treatment is widely used, though there is limited evidence of the benefit. Non-pharmacological treatment should be the first choice for milder symptoms of BPSD.