Biopsychosocial mechanisms of disinhibited behaviours in dementia and a systematic review of management approaches

Project Investigators Dr. Claire Burley, Prof. Henry Brodaty AO, Kim Burns


Program Overview:

Disinhibited behaviours including sexual disinhibition are less common than other behaviours and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, but when they do occur, they can cause significant distress for families, carers, other residents, as well as individuals who experience them. They raise safety, ethical and legal issues. Nevertheless, they remain largely overlooked in the literature.  The limited literature demonstrates considerable heterogeneity in their presentation, their putative underlying mechanisms and management approaches considered most effective.

We are reviewing literature investigating the neurobiological underpinnings for disinhibited behaviours. We are also reviewing pharmacological and nonpharmacological management approaches published between 2002 and 2020. Biological factors integrated with psychological, social and environmental factors help to explain disinhibited behaviours. We have developed a conceptual model that incorporates all associated factors and are developing case study examples to show how the model may assist in understanding these behaviours and determining the most appropriate treatment.

This project was accepted for a verbal presentation at the Dementia Australia Forum (ADF) 2020 (postponed).