There are a number of different ways that behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia can be relieved.This factsheet explains the different types of drugs that can be used.People with dementia may develop behavioural and psychological symptoms including restlessness, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, apathy and sleep disturbances.This factsheet looks at the different types of drugs that can be used to treat these symptoms if non-drug treatments have not worked.It is, however, important to note that most behavioural and psychological symptoms improve within four weeks without the need for medication.Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there, such as hearing voices) might make the person feel afraid.If a person with dementia develops behavioural and psychological symptoms it is important to remember that they are not 'behaving badly' and are not to blame.For information about these symptoms and how they can be treated, see factsheet 444, Depression and anxiety.
It explains when and how they should be prescribed and what the side-effects might be.
Other psychological symptoms that people with dementia may develop include depression and anxiety.
The symptoms may be a direct result of changes in the chemicals of their brain, or be due to a general health problem, such as discomfort caused by hunger, thirst or infection.
These symptoms can also be related to the care a person is receiving, their environment or social interactions.
These symptoms can be distressing, both for the person themselves and the carer.For example delusions (believing things that are not true, such as that the carer is an impostor) may cause the person to feel angry and behave in a hostile way.