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Shadowing is when the person you care for will not let you out of their sight. This can begin suddenly, but more often comes on gradually. When we started the www.dementiaguide.com, I was not aware of how commonly shadowing occurs, but until this symptom was added, it was the most common "write in" symptom for us. It was also a surprise to learn that it can occur even in dementia. Shadowing has received little formal attention in the literature, which is why it would help if you would (share with us).

When I observe people who shadow, they often appear anxious. They commonly look nervous or upset. In addition, many sit and observe the person they are shadowing. This apparent motor restlessness made me wonder if the patients had the condition known as "akatheisia"( ??) but none of the ones I have evaluated formally for this purpose had the condition. I have not found any pharmacological treatment to be successful, although sometimes it has been made somewhat better by using anti-depressant type drugs such is the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (ie. Cetalepram). An example for me was a patient, a distinguished retired, highly accomplished man, who was greatly reassured and largely stopped shadowing his wife when he had two stuffed toys in view. He called them "the boys" and felt reassured when he had the toys with him.



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Last updated November 16, 2017
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