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It is Important to Take a Proactive Approach to Treatment

Dementia Therapy Must be Approached Early and Aggressively

To start treatment dementia should be addressed as soon as possible.

To understand treatment dementia must be studied

What are the symptoms of dementia? What is treatment or dementia therapy? What are the options for dementia treatment? Is there a cure for dementia? There are some forms of dementia caused by medical conditions that can be treated and fully or partly reverse the condition.

When the type of dementia cannot be reversed, it is important to understand that the goal of treatment of dementia is to help the family identify future care needs and develop short and long terms goals. Dementia treatment then becomes about assisting the family and the person with dementia in providing the best possible care in the most suitable environment.

The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner the family can start to educate themselves on the type of dementia and plan for the potential problems that may occur.

Early intervention with medications cannot cure dementia, but, they may help improve an individualís mental function, memory problems, mood, or behavior.

The unfortunate and sad truth is that many family members delay addressing and initiating treatment. Many individuals are not treated with any medication or brain exercises within the first two to six years they begin to exhibit memory problems.

Reasons for Delayed Treatment Dementia:

  • Stigma Many patients and their family members do not want to have to deal with the stigma that comes with a diagnosis of dementia. This is a life altering diagnosis. Some families will go to great lengths to ignore and even hide their memory problems, to avoid this diagnosis. Many family members will not accept that there is something wrong until the signs and symptoms of dementia are in more advanced stages and they can no longer ignore the problems. This fear of the stigma of the diagnosis of dementia not only causes unnecessary delay in treatment, but it begins the start of social isolation and necessary support for the family members.

  • Skepticism Some family members have little faith in the family physician. Family members may have reached out and asked for help. In many instances, the family member has expressed concerned to the doctor, only to be told that there is nothing wrong. It is frustrating, in the early stages of the dementia, many can compensate for their memory losses and doctors may dismiss a family members concern. It is important that a family member, insist on a referral to a specialist. There is the other side of the coin, where the family or patient does not believe that treatment has the ability to make a difference.

  • Family and patient denial Postponing, delaying or accepting that there is something wrong that needs to be addressed is common. There will come a time when you will not be able to ignore those signs and symptoms. Changes in personality and unusual or negative behaviors will require intervention, because the dementia will have progressed. Many family members feel that this is when aggressive treatment, with medications should begin.

  • Lack of awareness and knowledge that early intervention can make a difference. Many patients and family members will just dismiss the early signs of dementia. After all, it is just a simple and easy thing to deal with and tolerate. Families fail to realize that a delay of a year or more of treatment can cause a serious and unnecessary setback. It is so important to take time to understand the disease process and make plans for future care needs. Please see the planning in Advance section of the site. Lack of knowledge is a barrier to early treatment and diagnosis in 40 % of cases.

  • Unsure of medications and costs Many patients do not want to take medications because they worry about the costs or the side effects. Most caregivers are aware that there may be medications that will slow the progress of the disease. The majority of caregivers do not realize that there are other forms of treatment, along with medications that can make a difference and help maintain an individualís ability to perform activities of daily living longer and even help them maintain the ability to think clearer longer.
    The most common reason for non compliance with medications is the cost of the drugs to treat many forms of dementia. Many family members or patients choose to just treat the symptoms of the dementia as they occur. This is because the benefits of the medications do not stop the progressive nature of the disease and are so expensive that some cannot justify the cost.

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