Fronteirs in Neurology state: “Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), also known as neuropsychiatric symptoms, represent a heterogeneous group of non-cognitive symptoms and behaviors occurring in subjects with dementia.”
Thankfully, at least in my opinion, there is a growing number of experts who believe it has done harm, as it has pathologised many normal human responses, and we want it banned. Oh, and on reading the description above, I definitely disliked being referred to as a subject!
Apart from a few ‘symptoms’ listed in the BPSD guidelines, for example, hallucinations, depression and delusions, most have nothing to do with the pathology of dementia.
So why not call them what they are? Some are very normal human responses or reactions or responses to something, and a few are psychiatric symptoms or disorders.
From my perspective, and my learnings and experience, it seems the time really is now that we separate what are the normal human responses from what is pathology due to dementia, and #BanBPSD forever.
The Albert Einstein quote above says it all…
Yet, as a ‘modern’ and supposedly ‘educated’ and ‘enlightened’ society, we too often get hung up on the need for science, or evidence based research, before we will do or even try anything when it is related to medicine.
Ironically, there is little or no ‘evidence’ that most of the symptoms listed in the BPSD guidelines are actually due to the pathology of dementia, although since they were developed, the health care professionals have taken to it like ducks to water!
Humans are a weird bunch indeed!
When I tried to get rehabilitation for dementia into the Australian National Clinical Guidelines, I was told there was no real evidence for it, even though I could and did cite dozens of research articles supporting my claim. Now, many of the same academics and clinicians who argued strongly against rehabilitation for people with dementia are writing about it, and even teaching it…
My own clinical neurophysiotherapist, Professor James McLoughlin, also an academic at Flinders University, was the only person who supported me from the sidelines back then, but unfortunately he was not on the committee developing the national dementia guidelines.