Symptoms and Treatment Options for Dementia

Dementia is a condition where a person experiences loss of mental functions such as memory, thinking, decision making and language which can disrupt the individual’s day-to-day life. Often times, dementia can also lead to changes in mood and behaviour. Dementia is both reversible and irreversible depending on its causes. When dementia is a result of trauma or a disease, the impacts cannot be reversed. On the other hand, in cases where the onset of dementia is due to drugs, depression or alcohol, the symptoms can be controlled to an extent.

Symptoms of Dementia:

The common signs and symptoms of dementia include cognitive and psychological changes. Here are few such symptoms:

Cognitive changes:

These changes include noticeable memory loss and confusion. Also, an individual starts facing difficulties in:

  • Communication
  • Handling difficult tasks
  • Organization and planning
  • Coordination
  • Reasoning or problem solving

Psychological changes:

When an individual starts showing the following behaviours :

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Agitation and inappropriate behaviour
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Behaviour and personality changes

If you or your loved ones start noticing these symptoms, know that it is time you visit a medical professional for a proper diagnosis of dementia and its causes so necessary treatment can be done at the earliest. There is no cure for dementia, but certain treatments can help manage symptoms in a better way.

Treatment for Dementia:

Medications:

  • To boost levels of chemical messengers involved in judgement and memory, medications such as Cholinesterase inhibitors are used.
  • To regulate the activity of glutamate, a chemical messenger involved in learning and memory functions, Memantine is prescribed.
  • To treat symptoms such as depression, agitation and abrupt sleep patterns, doctors may prescribe specific medications.

Therapies:

Several symptoms can be treated at an early stage with the help of therapies:

  • Occupational therapy can help the patient learn coping behaviours. Occupational therapy works by making the home a safer place to prevent accidents and prepare them for dementia progression.
  • Modifying the environment around the patient can help them focus and function in an easier way. Safety can be ensured by decluttering the space around the patient and reducing noise. Also, adding monitoring systems to alert you when the patient is wandering off will also help a lot.
  • Modify tasks by structuring and add a routine to the tasks to avoid confusion in the patient.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies:

These suggestions can help the patient in dealing with everyday activities:

  • Exercise is helpful in protecting the brain from dementia when combined with a healthy diet. It can help the patient deal with depression as well as slow the progress of impaired thinking.
  • Activities such as painting, singing can help the patient connect with family and friends.
  • Learning gestures to communicate can help the patient stay in touch with people around
  • Calendars to keep track of day to day activities, events and medication timings can help the patient with schedules.
  • Nighttime rituals are important for dementia patients as the behaviour becomes worse at night. It is often advised to keep the patient away from TV noise and active family members to ensure a calming bedtime ritual.

It is always important to consult your doctor before you start on any kind of treatment at home. Remember proper care and support can help dementia patients lead a much more organised and normal life.

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