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How do doctors assess new symptoms in people with dementia?

David A. Merrill, MD
Psychiatry
If somebody who has been diagnosed with dementia goes to the doctor because there is a new symptom, the first thing the doctor will want to do is determine the cause of the new behavioral symptom. Is it an acute medical condition? Was a new medication tried or a dose changed? Is there something new in the environment or the psychosocial situation? In other words, the doctor will try to find out if the new symptom is due to the dementia disease process -- the loss of cells or atrophy in the brain -- or not.

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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.