If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there’s no pretending that the path you’re on will be easy. Alzheimer’s is a medical condition wherein symptoms progressively worsen with time. To this date, there is no cure for the illness but there exists various symptomatic treatment options. If you want to know more about the different treatment options out there, the following list can help you out.
Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and accounts for about sixty to eighty percent of all dementia cases.1 Primary symptoms of Alzheimer’s include recollecting newly learned information, changes in mood and behavior, sleep disorders, and may also include difficulties in swallowing, walking, and speaking.2 Isolating and treating the individual symptoms may help manage them better and help improve quality of living.
List Of Symptomatic Treatment Options
Symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s include pharmacological and non-pharmacological options.3 Many pharmacological options have been found to cause several side effects. Non-drug treatment options are preferred in most cases but the patient may have to resort to medication when the symptoms become unmanageable. Treatment using alternative medicine has limited evidence and is largely based on personal reports and traditional medicine.
1. Cognitive Symptoms
Some of the symptoms that reveal decline in cognitive abilities in individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s include memory loss, decreased ability to think, reason, and make decisions, confusion, and disorientation. These symptoms occur as a result of the degeneration of brain cells and the resultant diminishing neural network connectivity in the brain.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of cholinesterase inhibitors for mild cases of memory loss. Some common side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, and rise in frequency of bowel movements. Memantine is prescribed for a more serious stage
2. Behavioral Changes
Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s also demonstrate several behavioral changes. In the early stages these may include irritability, anxiety, and depression. As the condition worsens with time, other symptoms like anger, aggression, emotional distress, restlessness, physical and verbal outbursts, and hallucinations may occur.5
Using medication to treat behavioral changes is not recommended unless and until symptoms become unmanageable and in the event non-drug methods have proven to be ineffective. Some of the medication used to treat symptoms include antidepressants for changes in mood, anxiolytics for anxiety, restlessness, and disruptive behavior, anti-psychotic medications for hallucinations, delusions, aggression, and hostility.6 It is essential that the individual and caregiver understand the risks involved in using the medication before they do.
3. Sleep Disorders