This review explores the relationships between depression, apathy, and anosognosia in Alzheimer’s disease. Depressed mood is found to be associated with less anosognosia, while greater apathy is associated with more anosognosia, and the contrasting reasons for these associations are discussed. The review also describes recent research findings indicating a dissociation between impaired awareness of condition/deficit and preserved emotional reactivity in response to illness-related material or the experience of failure in tests. We conclude by pointing to future directions for this area of research and clinical implications.

Learning Objectives

As a result of reading the article, the learner will be able to:

1) Explain how mood state may affect awareness of cognitive problems in Alzheimer’s disease

2) Describe the theoretical and clinical implications of implicit emotional reactivity phenomena in unaware Alzheimer’s disease patients