We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Connection Between Alzheimer's and Psychosis?

By H. Colledge
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Psychosis is a condition where people lose touch with reality, often having impossible ideas, or delusions, and experiencing hallucinations, where things are perceived which do not actually exist. The condition frequently occurs in people who have Alzheimer's disease, especially in the later stages of the illness. Alzheimer's is a disease where memory is impaired and thinking becomes difficult, which can affect recognition, speech, planning and movement. As the disease progresses, psychosis may develop in up to 50 percent of individuals, sometimes together with agitation and aggression. It is thought that, when Alzheimer's and psychosis occur together, this may represent a specific type of Alzheimer's disease, which could be linked to certain genes.

Different types of psychosis are associated with different diseases. In the case of psychosis and schizophrenia, what are called auditory hallucinations are more common, where a person hears things, typically voices, which are not really there. With Alzheimer's and psychosis, people more often experience visual hallucinations, seeing things which do not exist. Sometimes the hallucinations are pleasant, especially early on in the disease, often consisting of sightings of children or pets. As Alzheimer's progresses, the nature of the psychosis symptoms can change to become more upsetting.

While in schizophrenia the delusions experienced are often bizarre, with Alzheimer's and psychosis, any delusions commonly relate to everyday matters, such as one's home. Relatively often, delusions arise where people are convinced that they do not really live in their own house, but have another home elsewhere. It is also fairly common for a spouse to be misidentified and thought to be someone else. In a form of paranoid psychosis, a person with Alzheimer's may experience the delusion that people are sneaking into the home and stealing items.

Treatment in a person suffering from Alzheimer's and psychosis aims to reduce psychotic symptoms, while lowering the risk of unwanted side effects that would affect the person's quality of life. Possible complications of drug treatment can include drowsiness, abnormal movements, heart problems and changes in blood pressure, possibly leading to falls. Some authorities believe it is better to reserve medication for extreme cases and emergencies, and to use other methods of managing psychosis instead. Alternative approaches involve educating caregivers and modifying the routine and environment of the person with Alzheimer's. Strategies which have been shown to work include having a regular routine, in surroundings that are not too stimulating or too boring, avoiding setting up situations which are known to trigger psychotic symptoms, and learning how to prevent psychotic behaviors from escalating when they arise.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By fify — On Aug 16, 2013

@ZipLine-- Yes, my dad. We are in the same situation as you.

How long do the psychotic episodes usually last for your dad? My dad's lasts for half an hour to an hour. When it happens, we call the social services worker and his doctor. He's actually been doing really well lately because his doctor put him on an anti-psychotic drug.

Psychosis is very common among Alzheimer's patients and unfortunately they can become violent. If at any point you fear for your safety, don't hesitate to call the police. I know it's sad, but during psychosis, our loved ones are not aware of what they're doing.

By ZipLine — On Aug 16, 2013

Does anyone here have a loved one who becomes aggressive during psychotic episodes? What do you do when it happens?

My dad has Alzheimer's (stage 5) and recently started experiencing psychosis. He becomes violent.

By discographer — On Aug 16, 2013

I had a distant relative who had an advanced form of Alzheimer's and psychosis. During the worst stage, she was convinced that she was married with six kids and had a home. She would even give an address for it. In reality, she had never been married and she didn't have any kids.

She was staying in a home and the doctors treated her psychosis with medications. She was better on some days and worse on others. I went to see her a couple of times when she was in the worst stage and she passed away soon after.

I wish there was an effective Alzheimer's treatment. So many people are suffering so much because of it.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.