Causes of Agitation, Aggression, Irritability, and Hyperactivity

BPSD are likely a result of biological factors, neurodegenerative disease processes, acute medical illness, social circumstances, psychotic symptoms, sleep disturbances, psychological mechanisms, and traits of the patients as well as carers, but also a result of external demands the patient may have difficulties meeting due to insufficient internal resources. In other words, the development of BPSD is multifactorial. Nevertheless, when BPSD are encountered, especially agitation, aggression, irritability, and hyperactivity, emphasis should be put on diagnosing acute somatic or psychiatric illness, since they are a common cause and, in many instances, are easily treated. Infections, pain, and urinary retention are examples of the many possible causes of BPSD and will be reviewed in Sect. 9.4 “Management of Agitation, Aggression, Irritability, and Hyperactivity” of this chapter and in Sect. 9.3.3 “Biological Mechanisms in the Development of Agitation, Aggression, Irritability, and Hyperactivity.”

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