Treatment and Care
Often, as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, people experience depression, agitation and psychotic symptoms (paranoid thoughts, delusions or hallucinations).These behaviors may be manifested verbally (screaming, repetitive questions, etc.) or physically (hoarding, pacing, etc.), and they can sometimes lead to aggression, hyperactivity or combativeness. The symptoms may have an underlying medical origin such as a drug interaction or physical pain, and if this is a suspected cause a physician should be consulted. Agitation or psychotic behavior may also be triggered by something different in the person’s environment. Often, a change in routine, caregivers or surroundings can cause fear, anxiety or fatigue and lead to agitation.
The individual may be unable to communicate, be frustrated by his or her limitations, misunderstand what is happening or simply forget how to respond appropriately. In these cases, non-medical intervention is recommended to determine the source of the problem, modify the environment and change the behavior. If non-medical intervention does not work or the person becomes a danger to himself or others, a physician should be consulted to evaluate the need for medical treatments for depression, psychosis or anxiety.