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John Growdon, Neurology, answeredTroublesome changes in behavior are a common feature of Alzheimer's disease. Examples include being stubborn, resisting care, refusing to give up unsafe activities, pacing or hand-wringing, wandering, using obscene or abusive language, stealing, hiding things, getting lost, engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior, urinating in unsuitable places, wearing too few or too many clothes, eating inappropriate objects, dropping lit cigarettes, and so on. A particular behavior can disappear as a patient's abilities further deteriorate (for example, verbal abuse declines as aphasia progresses), only to be replaced with new problems.
Personality and behavior changes are common over the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD) or dementia. Your loved one may:
- Get upset, worried and angry more easily
- Act depressed or not interested in things
- Hide things or believe other people are hiding things
- Imagine things that aren't there
- Pace a lot of the time
- Exhibit unusual sexual behavior
- Hit you or other people
- Misunderstand what he or she sees or hears
- Stop caring about how he or she looks, stop bathing, and want to wear the same clothes every day
Some of the most difficult aspects of caring for someone with AD or dementia are the changes in behavior or personality. It can be frightening to see your loved one become paranoid or aggressive. Working with your healthcare practitioner to get appropriate medication and assistance in coping with these behaviors is important.