Disease awareness may increase risk of suicide in young onset dementia: A case report

ABSTRACT Studies report that people with young onset Alzheimer's disease (YOAD) have higher levels of disease awareness compared to those with late onset AD. We report a case of a man with YOAD who had preserved awareness of disease, depression and risk of suicide associated with the development of the dementia. Cognitive functioning, disease severity, depressive symptoms and awareness of disease were assessed using validated measures. The person with YOAD showed a moderate level of disease severity and high degree of dependence for activities of daily living. There was recognition of memory problems and routine changes with presence of intense pessimism, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation. This case points to the existence of specific issues related to young onset dementia and the clinical importance of identifying and treating patients who might be aware of their condition.