• Alzheimer’s disease;
  • BPSD;
  • functional assessment staging;
  • severity;
  • untreated patients


Background:  To ascertain the prevalence of psychotic symptoms and behavioral disturbances of dementia patients is useful for families and health care professionals in order to anticipate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to recognize deterioration. This study aimed to determine whether behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are related to severity of untreated AD.

Methods:  Two hundred and two patients were classified into three groups by Functional Assessment Staging score as follows: mild group (n = 92) was at stages 3 or 4; moderate group (n = 80) was at stage 5; and severe group (n = 30) was at stages 6 or 7. We then compared the prevalence of BPSD among the groups. Psychiatric symptoms of BPSD were defined as including hallucinations, delusions, delusional misidentification syndrome and depressive mood; while behavioral disturbances included physical aggression, wandering, adverse sleep and hyperphagia.

Results:  In our study, depressive mood, physical aggression and wandering were statistically associated with the severity of AD.

Conclusion:  These results are meaningful for caregivers in helping them to understand the anticipated progression of AD and to recognize deterioration. In the care of AD patients, it is necessary to be aware of characteristics of each BPSD.