Demented patients may present frustrating behavior problems; the first step in treating these problems is to determine if the behavior is psychiatric or non psychiatric. Nonpsychiatric behaviors are those that do not respond to medication, such as wandering or hoarding materials. Psychiatric behaviors, however, do respond to treatment and include depression, anxiety, and verbal or physical assault. Before planning a medication regimen for the elderly patient, though, there are several factors to consider. First try all approaches that do not involve drugs; if medication is the only answer, be sure to have a well-defined problem to treat. Make sure the therapy is specific for each patient, and monitor the efficacy of the medication [Psychiatrie Annals 1990; 20:446-455].