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What to look for?

Irritability/Frustration | Common Signs

  • Is quick to anger during conversations (e.g. flies off the handle easily)
  • Gets upset easily by mistakes, memory problems, or other difficulties
  • Becomes upset or angered by things that seem trivial
  • Becomes defensive or blames others when things don't go right
  • Snaps at others for no apparent reason
  • Is argumentative or difficult with others
  • Is critical of others
  • Provokes arguments with others
  • Is bothered easily by others' behaviours
  • Becomes annoyed by noise or a crowd of people
  • Gets upset if rushed or if there is a change in routine
  • Is often cranky or moody
Irritability/Frustration | General Description

Some people with dementia become easily frustrated or irritable, particularly at each reminder that their abilities are declining. They become upset when they have memory problems and when they are unable to complete tasks and can also become frustrated because they need assistance with tasks they used to be able to do independently. The reason for this is not usually based in memory loss, but not being able to control their emotions.

The person with dementia may resent the caregiver, and may become angry and irritated because they dislike being told what to do. This agitation and resentment can present itself as argumentative behaviour and criticism of others. Commonly they also lack insight into why caregivers are trying to control their environment. It is helpful if the caregiver learns to detect the early signs of frustration/agitation. Often, this can prevent the irritability from developing into an act of aggression, as sometimes can happen.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Personality Changes
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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