Changes in behavior caused by Alzheimer’s or other dementia can be the most upsetting and challenging aspect of the disease for caregivers. These changes can include irritability, anxiety, emotional distress, depression, verbal outbursts, physical aggression, and even hallucination or delusions.

Antipsychotic medication is often prescribed to lessen these “behavioral expressions,” but have many negative side effects, including gait and balance disturbance, falls, decrease in levels of cognition, diminished ability with activities of daily living, increased cardiovascular events (such as heart attack and stroke) and risk of death.

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