Seeing a doctor

A person with dementia should see a doctor if there is a sudden change in their behaviour or if their condition has deteriorated more quickly than expected.

A person with dementia should see a doctor if there is a sudden change in their behaviour or if their condition has deteriorated more quickly than expected. These changes could be caused by an illness or the effects of medication. They could also be caused by depression, anxiety or apathy. 

To diagnose depression, anxiety or apathy the doctor will talk to the person with dementia and their carer (or someone close to them). The doctor will try to assess the person’s behaviour, mood and any changes that have happened, such as if they have become more agitated or they have less energy.

It can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose depression in a person with dementia because the symptoms of depression and dementia can be similar (see the section 'Depression and dementia'). Symptoms of apathy and depression can also overlap (see the section 'Apathy and dementia').

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