Can Dementia Be Treated?

A decline in mental ability that interferes with everyday life is known as dementia. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for over 60 percent of cases. Along with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is also a common type of dementia as this condition often occurs after a person experiences a stroke.

Regardless of the specific type of dementia that a person is experiencing, the conditions can affect memory, concentration, reasoning/judgment, communication, and sight. Although most types of dementia can’t be cured, there are several treatments available to ease the symptoms. The primary goal of these treatments is to promote a semi-normal lifestyle and optimal wellbeing.

Here are the most common drug treatments and non-drug treatments for dementia.

Drug Treatments

In today’s society, dementia has become almost synonymous with drug treatments. The fact of the matter is that most doctors prescribe drugs to treat this common condition. There are several drugs that can prevent the disease from progressing and/or manage the symptoms of the condition.

Most people who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia are prescribed galantamine, donepezil, or rivastigmine. These three popular drugs have been shown to improve memory, focus, and motivation.

Those who are experiencing moderate to severe dementia may be prescribed memantine, a drug that is known to prevent challenging behaviors and improve everyday living.

People who are suffering from dementia with Lewy bodies are frequently prescribed galantamine, donepezil, or rivastigmine. These types of medications are great for easing symptoms of hallucinations, aggression, delusions, confusion, and agitation.

If a person has been diagnosed with vascular dementia, there are several drugs that can treat the underlying diseases of this type of dementia. Such drugs are often used to treat underlying diseases like diabetes, elevated blood pressure, heart issues, and high cholesterol. When these underlying conditions are effectively controlled, dementia may not progress as quickly.

Depending on the types of conditions that a dementia patient may be battling, other types of drugs may also be prescribed. These drugs may include sleeping tablets, depression medicine, or anti-psychotics, but the drugs aren’t always prescribed alongside dementia medications because they could cause severe side effects.

Non-Drug Treatments

Despite a common belief among people in the United States, dementia is not just treated with several drugs. There is actually an extensive array of effective therapies and support that can help someone cope with dementia.

Counseling: After being diagnosed with this condition, many people feel lost and confused. Talking to a trained counselor can enable people to discuss their feelings about the condition and accept the diagnosis. As soon as dementia patients come to terms with the diagnosis, they can move forward by receiving the most appropriate treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Also known as CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy is a great treatment for dementia patients who are battling anxiety and depression.

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy: Like cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive stimulation therapy is a great treatment for dementia patients. Cognitive stimulation therapy has been shown to keep dementia patients’ mind active. To accomplish this goal, the therapy typically consists of engaging in themed activity sessions for an extended period of time.

Cognitive Rehabilitation: A popular therapy among those with dementia, cognitive rehabilitation can help people cope better with this challenging condition. The most important goal of the therapy is to assist dementia patients with retaining skills to live independently, especially following memory loss. The therapy may include useful items like calendar clocks and pillboxes. Cognitive rehabilitation may also help someone learn how to break tasks into manageable steps and create easy, everyday routines.

LifeStyle Work: Some dementia patients may choose to participate in an effective therapy known as lifestyle work where they are strongly encouraged to share their favorite and most vivid memories and experiences. Life story work is really similar to reminiscent work as the ultimate goal is to help people enhance their memory and wellbeing.

Music, Singing, Art: Engaging in creative activities playing a fun musical instrument, singing, or doing art can also be a great dementia treatment because they can improve someone’s overall wellbeing. After participating in meaningful activities, people with dementia will probably feel much better about themselves.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Whether a person chooses drug treatments or support therapies, the care for someone diagnosed with dementia should always be “patient-centered.” In other words, the treatment should focus on the unique needs and preferences of the dementia patient. Of course, the treatment can also consider the desires of close loved ones, but the desires of the dementia patient are the priority.

When it comes to dementia treatment, one size definitely does not fit all. For the best results, the treatment should be tailored to each patient’s specific needs. By doing so, the dementia patient will be on track for living their very best life.

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