The ability to treat some forms of dementia highlights the importance of patients seeing a doctor soon after the appearance of their symptoms and going to a doctor’s appointment prepared with all of the relevant information to their medical history. It is also important for a doctor to know all prescription and over the counter medications a patient is taking to rule in or out any potential drug based cause for the dementia. Even untreatable dementia can be managed for a period of time if caught early, so there are options available to all of those who are concerned about their memory loss.
Psychiatric problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease are the area out of which behavioral problems are most likely to arise. The good news is that most psychiatric and behavioral issues can be treated with the proper medications.
Personality changes are common in Alzheimer’s patients. They may become withdrawn and isolate themselves, or they may become moody and irritable. These changes may be caused by depression over the diagnosis or depression/mood changes brought on the changing chemistry of the patient’s brain. A doctor can prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help with low mood. Depression generally responds to patients even in late stage Alzheimer’s disease, so keeping an eye out for the symptoms can be important to a patient’s well being, even when they can no longer express what they are feeling themselves.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are many forms of treatment that can alleviate the symptoms as well as enhance a patient’s memory. For those patients and caregivers who do not want to go on traditional medication, there are alternative treatments to pursue.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can often leave a patient and their loved ones feeling desperate and searching for any treatment or Alzheimer’s cures they can find. Alzheimer’s medications and alternative therapy is available to reduce the symptoms as well as to enhance the memory. For Alzheimer’s disease, the drug Aricept is often prescribed to delay the worsening of symptoms, like memory loss and disorientation. In dealing with multi-infarct dementia, it is important to control high blood pressure and cholesterol, and so treating those conditions with medication would be an option. Medication for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can also be prescribed to reduce agitation, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
However, medication for behavioral symptoms is not always necessary. This is particularly advised in mild to moderate cases of dementia, where Alzheimer’s disease has not been diagnosed, or even in a few cases where the dementia is reversible. Instead of medication, alternative forms of therapy like psychotherapy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and herbal supplements have been used. A plan of healthy dieting and regular activity can be a treatment against dementia. Simple strategies designed to naturally enhance the patient’s memory, like visual aids or planning a schedule of daily routines, are also effective.
In addition to organizing and planning as much as possible, make sure to pay attention to your physical health. See your doctor regularly, and have someone help you keep track of important questions you want to bring up at your appointments. Take your medication exactly according to the directions, and ensure a trusted family member or friend is available to check up on your medication daily. Eat healthy and get exercise as often as you can. Don’t push yourself beyond what you feel up to, and allow yourself to take a break when you are tired. Alcohol can affect your memory, so try to cut back on drinking, or cut it out.
Don’t neglect your emotional health, either. Make good use of the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your area, and have your doctor refer you to a therapist if you need to talk. Your doctor also may be able to prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety Alzheimer’s medications for you. Alzheimer’s disease is also difficult to cope with for your loved ones. Encourage them to seek out the help and support they need and to have a network of support in place for times when things deteriorate.
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