The Epidemiology of Psychosis in Dementia

Iracema Leroi, M.D., FRCPC, Argyro Voulgari, Dr.Med.Sci., John C.S. Breitner, M.D., M.P.H. and Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S.

OBJECTIVE: Authors compared delusions, hallucinations, and misidentification delusions in Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) patients.

METHODS: The authors report data on the prevalence, severity, clinical, and demographic associations of these symptoms in a population sample of 260 persons with dementia, examined with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory.

RESULTS: The primary finding was that there was no difference in psychosis as a whole, or in delusions and hallucinations, between AD and VaD. Also, in AD, female gender appeared to be a risk factor for delusions; subjects in an earlier stage of dementia showed fewer delusions.

CONCLUSION: The profile of delusions and hallucinations seen is different from that seen in schizophrenia, further supporting the hypothesis that AD-associated psychosis is a distinct phenomenological syndrome.

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