Treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Although researchers are working to develop therapies that can halt or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly even prevent it, no such therapy is available yet. Current treatment is focused on managing the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease and thereby improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s. This means treatment aims to, for example, improve memory, calm anxieties and help people with dementia to remain alert in waking hours or sleep well at night. Treatment is most often a combination of drug therapies and personal care. Drug therapies range from medications developed specifically for treating the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s to drugs used broadly in the mental health field, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics. Personal care is administered in a number of ways and a variety of situations.
Living with a disease such as Alzheimer’s can be a challenge that stretches the courage, fortitude, patience, flexibility, creativity and adaptive skills of everyone involved. It requires trust and honesty in dealing with complex personal issues. As the disease progresses, the types and combinations of treatments will change. What worked in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s may no longer be appropriate for the moderate or severe stage.