Rethinking Psychosis in Dementia: An Analysis of Antecedents and Explanations

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An in-depth analysis of qualitative data regarding antecedents, consequences, and descriptions of delusions of persons with dementia (PwD) provided by family caregivers is presented. Three broad classifications of reasons given behind types of delusions are included, namely environmental factors, personal factors, and dementia, with dementia being the most prominent factor. We observed an overlap between known cognitive symptoms of dementia and the characteristics of the reported “delusions” in dementia. It therefore appears that what is often classified as a delusion of a seemingly psychotic nature is in fact the PwD’s disorientation combined with an attempt to fill in gaps caused by cognitive deficiencies.

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