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Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: prevention, diagnosis and treatment
INTRODUCTION. The behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) give rise to personal suffering, are the cause of added deterioration and worsen the economic and social cost of dementias.
AIM. To offer a systematic approach to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of BPSD. DEVELOPMENT. The study adopts a global perspective that takes into account biological, psychological and social factors in an attempt to avoid both excessive medicalisation and a purely psychology-based attitude. Satisfying basic needs, treating medical and psychiatric comorbidity, the adaptation of the setting, and the specific pharmacological treatment of dementia, as well as offering patients and their caregivers the counselling and support they need, all contribute to prevent the onset of BPSD. The diagnosis of BPSD is based on the patient’s medical history and on observation. It is useful to identify a primary or destabilising BPSD on which to deploy hypotheses and specific treatments based on modifying the environment, drugs, non-pharmacological therapies and continuous assessment. Any action taken must be integrated within a person-focused care plan aimed at accomplishing the patients’ and their caregivers’ welfare and quality of life.