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Ageing is a natural process, and as much as we don’t like it, it is inevitable. The effect of ageing is different from different organs, and with regard to the brain, dementia is one of the main effects. Dementia is not an isolated condition, but a set of symptoms that includes decreased memory and reduced thinking ability, making it difficult for the person to perform daily activities efficiently. Ageing is one of the main causes of dementia. Dementia is usually progressive, with a person beginning to forget his/her purse, taking pills, etc., and then progressing to forget more important things like close family members’ names or finding one’s way back home.
Though dementia is not reversible, it is possible to control the rate of progression and arrest symptoms if detected in the early stages. There are various reasons for dementia, with senility or ageing being one of the main reasons. Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, hypothyroidism, depression, etc., are some of the other reasons and treating these can help control the symptoms of dementia. Treatment for dementia would include a combination of medications aimed at treating the underlying reason for dementia and supportive palliative care, which forms a huge component of the treatment, which includes the following:
- Vitamin B12 replacement in people with vitamin deficiency
- Treat hypothyroidism with thyroid replacement
- Manage depression with antidepressants
- Change or substitute medications leading to memory loss
- Mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease can be controlled with acetylcholine esterase inhibitors like rivastigmine and galantamine; more severe forms with memantine hydrochloride.
- Manage behavioural changes with antipsychotics
- Recommend surgical removal if there are brain tumours that cause increased pressure
- Treat brain infections like encephalitis, if present.
- Manage risk factors by managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and quitting smoking
In addition to the above, supportive palliative care is also very essential. The intention is not to cure, but to improve patient care by including the following:
- Help the affected person become independent and manage daily activities on their own.
- Include cognitive stimulation with activities and games to improve memory and cognitive functioning.
- Validation therapy and behaviour therapy are also used, depending on the symptoms.
- The affected person would usually feel mixed feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, and sadness. To address this, use medications that improve the mood, control the behaviour, and improve cognitive functions. Support and counselling from friends and family are very helpful.
- As much as it might be uncomfortable, decisions such as caretaker, type of care, financial planning, etc., should be discussed and decided.
As dementia is irreversible, the key is to detect the symptoms in their early stages. This will help in effective management by arresting the symptoms from progressing, thereby improving the quality of life. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a psychiatrist.
I get anger for simple issues with my family and girl friend but do not get any anger no matter how much others insult me abuse me and make fun of me. Why is this so? What should I do to get mentally balanced reaction to a situation?
Are you stressed out lately and not being able to overcome it for a long time? With the holiday season approaching, you are bound to feel worse as your stress is bound to get in the way of celebrations. Winter is a promising time for celebrating, travelling and having fun, and you cannot let your patience and stress ruin it. Here are some steps following which you will be able to cope with your stress and anxiety, so that you can enjoy
Start with a clear mind:
- Realize that some things are just beyond your control. This is a tough thing to do, but you have to accept it just like the fact that you cannot control rain, sun, and the actions of people. Fighting against something beyond your control will make you stressed out and miserable.
- Realize that there are things, which are in your control. Focus on them and get a firm grip on them. The power of controlling your actions and reactions lies only in your hands. You can also influence your state of consciousness, your physiological responses, and mental processes.
- Learn to surrender and seek acceptance. Instead of resisting against the aspects which you cannot control, surrender to them. This does not make you weak, nor a loser. It is just accepting that you cannot change certain things.
- Be mindful. Stop for a moment, and try observing your internal experience, without any form of judgement. Try to become more conscious and aware of what goes on inside you.
- Take charge of your thoughts. The aim here is not to ignore and deny certain thoughts, but to transform them after analyzing and acknowledging them.
- Utilize your breath. It is an effective tool, which remains with you forever and connects your body and mind. Deep, slow breathing can be more beneficial than you could ever imagine. Keep inhaling and exhaling till you feel relaxed. This is excellent for calming your nervous system.
- Look at the brighter side of life, no matter how hard it may be. Focusing on positive things might make you discover a solution for your stressful condition.
- Take proper care of yourself. Self care is important for eliminating stress. You should take regular showers, eat balanced diet, exercise regularly, and carry out pleasurable activities.
- It is important for you to abstain from comparing yourself with others. Comparisons can cause distorted perceptions and increase stress.