Behavioral and psychiatric manifestations in dementia patients in a community: caregiver burden and outcome

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1998 Dec;12(4):330-4. doi: 10.1097/00002093-199812000-00013.


The aim of the present study was to document behavioral disturbances in dementia patients in a sample not specifically referred to a clinic. Ninety patients with dementia in a community were studied in relation to the behavioral and psychiatric manifestations as perceived by their caregivers. They were categorized into two subgroups based on severity of the illness, namely mild and moderate-severe, for the purpose of comparison. There were 68 patients with Alzheimer disease, 10 with vascular dementia, and the remaining 12 formed a miscellaneous group.The frequency of the following behaviors in relation to the severity of the dementia were assessed: aggression, physical violence, wandering, incontinence, disinhibition, binge-eating, hallucinations, delusions, and depression. The most common behavioral change was aggression (59%), followed by wandering (27%), delusions (22%), and incontinence (18%). Aggression caused the most distress to the caregiver. There was a higher incidence of wandering, incontinence (p= 0.009), and persecutory delusions (p=0.02) in the moderate severe group. A significantly higher proportion of the moderate-severe group required further care and intervention (p=0.04). This study is probably one of the rare nonclinical surveys on this subject.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Support