Socio-psychological factors in suicide with Alzheimer’s disease: comparative case studies of two patients in the USA and Japan


Dr Yusuke Kishikawa, MD, Center of Psychiatry of Aging, AINO Hospital, Takada-cho 11-18, Ibaraki 567-8511, Japan. Email:


The objective of this case report is to illustrate the influence of socio-psychological background on behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A comparative analysis was undertaken of two suicide cases with AD in the USA and Japan. Both cases were in the early stages of AD. They succeeded in suicide even with their disturbed executive functions, because they felt deprived of their dignity for different reasons according to their socio-cultural background. Early stage AD patients may retain the behavior and intellectual functions associated with their dignity and desire. Since dignity and desire are very cultural concerns, socio-psychological background should be cautiously considered when dealing with the emotional problems of AD patients.