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How can Alzheimer's disease affect emotional response?

A strong emotional response to a minor problem is a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Catastrophic reactions can involve crying inconsolably, shouting, swearing, agitated pacing, refusing to participate in an activity or striking out at another person. The usual triggers include fatigue, stress, discomfort and the failure to understand a situation. Essentially, a catastrophic reaction is the response of an overwhelmed, frightened person who feels cornered and is trying to protect himself or herself. The behavior is caused by brain dysfunction and is mostly beyond the person's control.

Alzheimer's disease can affect emotional response in a number of ways. Early Alzheimer's might cause symptoms of irritability, anxiety or depression. Later on, a person might not recognize loved ones, or might not be able to follow a conversation and might have an inappropriate response because of this. Sometimes these symptoms can be treated with medications such as antidepressants.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.