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Personality Changes of Alzheimer's

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most distressing aspect for the relatives and friends of the sufferers of Alzheimer's disease is the complete change of the patient's personality. The personality and general behavior of Alzheimer sufferers in the later stages of the disease often seems to be in complete contrast to the normal behavior they have always exhibited in their previous life.

A person suffering from Alzheimer's disease may suffer from rapid mood changes - from calm to tears to anger and rage - for apparently no reason. Their personality changes dramatically, by becoming extremely confused, suspicious, and fearful. Where they were independent before, they now become overtly dependent on a family member or a carer.

There are changes of personality to such an extent that a person, who was very active before, suddenly becomes passive, sitting for hours in one place, say, in front of the TV, sleeping for longer hours - which is not normal for him/her, and failing or not willing to do the usual activities, which were normal in the past.

Another quality of Alzheimer's disease and changes in personality is that the previously well hidden underlying features of the person's character sometimes come to the fore. Spiteful traits, which were not present before, can be revealed. A tendency to anxiety, nervousness or aggression, both verbal and physical, can surface again specially in the later stages.

The personality changes may affect different Alzheimer sufferers differently. Some may remain their old self, albeit with accompanying memory loss and orientation problems, where as others may suffer varying mood swings which can fluctuate from being ecstatically happy to very sad.

The underlying traits, such as verbal aggression, and continuing anxiety become very prominent and cause lots of problems in the later stages of the disease. The patient will require continuous reassurance from carers and friends.

Personal hygiene is another major issue with Alzheimer disease sufferers. They forget to wash and bathe and gradually it becomes very infrequent. Alzheimer's disease sufferers who were very particular about their hygiene etc become very negligent.

Clothing regularly become stained with urine and faeces, and this is very distressing to their friends, relatives and carers. Many Alzheimer sufferers leave the toilet before they are finished, or they do not clean their butt or private parts correctly. "Body odor" therefore especially can become a problem, as can also soiled clothing and hands.

They are so disoriented and forgetful that at times they Undress in public and "accidentally" flash or fondle their genitals. This is a major problem and need to be carefully monitored. This can also cause untold embarrassment to carers, relatives, and everyone around.

Sometimes it is forgotten by some carers and relatives that it isn't the act of soiling or untoward behavior that needs to be taken into account, but the importance of dignity being maintained at all times. Dignity is a very precious commodity to own when suffering from Alzheimer's disease, as this is often all they have left.

If you see and recognize the above warning signs in your loved ones, or even in yourself, immediately consult your doctor. To avail of appropriate treatment and care, it is important to diagnose Alzheimer's disease early. Sometimes you may feel these symptoms of mood swings and memory lapses to be normal for an ageing person, and you may be correct, but the symptoms in an Alzheimer's patient are more severe. Therefore, it is always better to worry on the side of caution and opt for medical consultations.
About the Author
Please visit Facts on Alzheimers for more useful information on Alzheimer's disease, signs, symptoms, treatment, medication, memory loss, and other related facts.
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