Revisiting BPSC-19

It feels important to (re) acknowledge the challenging nature of these times and I do sincerely hope you are all safe and well.

I also want to thank those who have reached out to me at this time of deep grief, here, on social media and by phoning me or calling in. Words do not adequately describe my gratitude.

Some of my online DAI friends have had family members diagnosed with the Coronavirus, which I am sure has been especially difficult, and my thoughts and a lot of virtual hugs are being sent their way more than usual too.

I’ve no doubt you are all calling your family and friends more often, or even writing a letter or sending a card. These are small things we can to to support others. We are all in this together.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect more people around the world, both in terms of being diagnosed with it, or affected by it due to restrictons and lockdowns, the psychological effect has been significant.

In fact, so much so it has inspired me to repost the following list I published in March of the Behavioural and Psycholocial Symptoms of COVID-19,, and to restate the need to #BanBPSD as a matter of urgency. I also believe that simply renaming what are in fact, mostly normal human responsess as many academics are doing, including many ‘Special interest‘ groups, will not fix the problem…

Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms of COVID-19 (BPSC-19)

People are self reporting or are being seen to be experiencing Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of COVID-19 (oops, they are normal human responses), including:

  • anxiety
  • mood disturbance, e.g. depression
  • stress due to enforced isolation and distancing
  • reactions due to the amygdala (fight or flight)
  • anger (fight response)
  • aggression (fight response)
  • irritability (mood disturbance)
  • trying to escape (flight response, wandering)
  • Hoarding (excessive shopping)
  • absconding (flight response, wandering)
  • confusion
  • being irrational (e.g. fighting for toilet paper or spitting on fruit in the supermarket)
  • difficulty making decisions (should I visit my son before they close the borders)
  • excessive worrying
  • inability to concentrate, or do simple tasks such as spell
  • poor sleep (sleep disturbance)
  • awaking the middle of the night (sleep disturbance)
  • sundowning (sleep disturbance)
So, we must ask ourselves, are these reactions normal human responses or are they the “neuropsychiatric symtoms of COVID-19”? 

And if they are the latter, we can expect them to end up in the DSM-V, and will find they are experienced by at least 90% of the population!

I’d suggest this is already evident, and have seen and read a lot of stories where there is mild to severe ‘hysteria’ and open displays of deep distress and ‘abnormal – or even challenging behaviour’.

For the record, I am still not meaning to disrespect or demean in any way anyone who is stressed by the pandemic. Instead, my aim is to continue to put these reactions to COVID-19 into a more realistic perspective.


Because people withOUT dementia re not used to enforced isolation or social and physical distancing, whilst people WITH dementia experiece it from the day they choose to share their diagnosis.

The normal human reactions to dementia AND to the Coronavirus restrictions are not legitimate reasons to segregate and confine people, as a way of managing these normal human respones (symptoms!).

Nor are the good reasons to chemically or phycisally restraint anyone. 



10 thoughts on “Revisiting BPSC-19

  1. Pingback: BPSD vs BPSC cont. |

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  5. Great article Kate! Difficult times these are. The challenges are massive, overwhelming at times and just plain exhausting. So sorry to hear about Boris. We both had gray cats very much alike. I had to put Elliott down in the beginning of the quarantine which was rough as I am alone. I can relate to your grief. it is all consuming. I hope your heart is healing and joy is able to once again find its way into your heart. I send you much love and many thoughts! Stay well and keep your heart open 🙂 The love can’t get in if it’s closed.
    Thinking of you..VK >3


  6. Kia ora Kate

    I really really like this post.

    Thank you so much.

    Ngā mihi nui / Best wishes

    Philippa Fletcher

    Philippa Fletcher
    Policy Advisor
    Alzheimers New Zealand
    Education House, Level 4 West Block, 178-182 Willis Street
    PO Box 11288, Manners Street, Wellington 6142, New Zealand,


  7. Dear Kate, your metaphor for COVID-!9 psychological symptoms (BPSC-19) ending up in DSM-5 is brilliant. The evidence is clear. When people are locked up and socially deprived, people withOUT dementia will rebel in the same way as people with dementia. In other words, BPSD reaction to enforced social deprivation is perfectly normal, and rational, HUMAN behaviour.
    Also sorry your Boris has passed on. All domestic pets are instinctively aware of human needs.That’s why they are called companion animals.
    All the best, Paul


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