Pseudodementia: A Case Report on the Connection Between Dementia and Bipolar Spectrum Disorders

  • Valentina Ciappolino
  • Giulia Orsenigo


Bipolar disorder (BD) is a major affective disorder marked by recurrent/cyclical episodes of mania/hypomania and depression, and it is considered one of the major causes of disability worldwide, having a detrimental effect on the cognitive, social, and occupational functioning of the individual. BD may have a late onset. The elderly can indeed present two different patterns of mixed affective-cognitive disturbances, with several overlapping features: depressive pseudodementia (symptoms of dementia in depression, reversible) and pseudodepressive dementia (symptoms of depression in dementia, irreversible). Interestingly, the similarities in several features between BD and dementia suggest a potential overlooked continuum between these disorders. Of note, this report describes the case of a 71-year-old male, presenting a quickly cognitive deficits onset and a change from his prior pattern of behavior. Up to date, there are no clear guidelines available to diagnose and treat late-onset bipolar illness presenting as pseudodementia; thus it is necessary to keep in mind the existence of this clinical presentation which requires a follow-up of symptoms over time.


Bipolar disorder Pseudodementia Cognitive functions Neuroimaging studies 

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Ciappolino
    • 1
  • Giulia Orsenigo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore PoliclinicoUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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