Changes in psychiatric symptoms related to specific stages of dementia were investigated in 224 adults 45 years of age or older with Down syndrome. Findings indicate that psychiatric symptoms are a prevalent feature of dementia in the population with Down syndrome and that clinical presentation is qualitatively similar to that seen in Alzheimer's disease within the general population. Psychiatric symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease vary by the type of behavior and stage of dementia, but do not seem to be influenced by sex or level of premorbid intellectual impairment. Some psychiatric symptoms may be early indicators of Alzheimer's disease and may appear prior to substantial changes in daily functioning. Improvements in understanding the progression of dementia in individuals with Down syndrome may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.